To ask, or not to ask? Part 2
How do you imagine this exchange going between you (the boss) and an employee: Ã¢ÂÂWhy are you the way that you are? I hate so much about the things that you choose to be.Ã¢ÂÂ
Remember the TV show Ã¢ÂÂThe OfficeÃ¢ÂÂ? This is what Michael Scott (the boss) said to one of his team members. Since the show was a comedy, it was OK to laugh; of course, this is also a perfect example of a question that you and I should never ask an employee.
The Harvard Business Review blog gives a few more examples of what not to ask:
- Ã¢ÂÂWhatÃ¢ÂÂs the problem?Ã¢ÂÂ Try to give your questions a more positive spin, such as Ã¢ÂÂHow can we build off of what we already do well?Ã¢ÂÂ
- Ã¢ÂÂWhose fault is it?Ã¢ÂÂ DonÃ¢ÂÂt place blame or single people out; instead, ask how the team can better work together.
- Ã¢ÂÂWhy donÃ¢ÂÂt you do it this way?Ã¢ÂÂ Try not to exert control and instead ask for your employeesÃ¢ÂÂ ideas.
- Ã¢ÂÂHavenÃ¢ÂÂt we tried this already?Ã¢ÂÂ Watch your tone when asking questions so you donÃ¢ÂÂt already sound defeated.
Another blog post on Harvard Business Review states, Ã¢ÂÂQuestions focused on why a person did not or cannot succeed force subordinates to take a defensive or reactive stance and strip them of their power. Such questions shut down opportunities for success and do not allow people to clarify misunderstandings or achieve goals.Ã¢ÂÂ
Remember, your employeesÃ¢ÂÂ success is your success. As leaders, we should try to focus on leading by asking, not telling.
Last week, I discussed how asking the right questions can encourage your employees and help your organization succeed. In case you missed it, here it is.