One thing to know about questions is that there are very productive questions and then some that don’t really do anything.
For example if you work in sales you have most likely been trained to ask open ended questions because they engage customers and don’t allow them to answer with a yes or a no. If you work within the recruitment industry you have probably been taught to ask behaviour or competency based questions to uncover your candidates experiences and behaviours. These types of questions are very intentional.
But if you are working in a leadership or management position you have probably never been taught to ask quality questions. Why? Because leading teams is usually assumed that the person in charge will direct and tell their team how and what needs to get done.
However its really important that every leader or manager is just as intentional as a sales person or recruiter about the types of questions they ask. Most leadership courses talk about coaching and providing feedback which is super important to growing your leadership skills but I love John C. Maxwells book Good Leaders Ask Great questions because in it he teaches why questions are so important.
The secret to asking successful questions is, you must be prepared. This means you need a list in your back pocket at all times which means that you will have to study and learn about how and what questions to ask.
First of all you have to get curious. The reasons why questions are asked is to uncover more. As a leader it’s your job to find out more about your team members and situations by becoming more curious. How can you really solve things when you don’t understand the cause or issue that it came from, so ask away.
If you don’t ask questions then you may be making lots of assumptions which in time will hinder the performance of your team and ultimately you.
My favourite question is WHY? This so simple and easy to use, and is highly effective.
Here is a short list of questions from Good Leaders Ask GREAT questions. These are quality questions that you should incorporate into your meetings, conversations and life.
My advice is to start practicing with two a week and then keep adding two more, continuing to build your quality question vocabulary with each passing week.
- What do you think?
- How can I help you?
- Did we exceed expectations?
- What did you learn?
- Did we add value?
- How do we maximize this experience?
- What do I need to know?
- How do we make the most of this opportunity?
- How are the numbers?
- What am I missing?