On Saturday, August 6 Categories:

"If you want people to take action you must refrain from giving them the answer." Goldratt, Author - The Goal

Asking effective questions can be the ultimate tool in your "leadership toolbox". Effective questioning can assist you in understanding a team member's concern, a customer's needs or points of view of people engaged in a conflict. Many leaders believe effective questioning has helped in creating employee retention and customer loyalty.

The difference between a productive question and one that is less productive lies in the question's focus. Some questions make us feel put on the spot, intimidated and even dis-empowered. They focus our attention on the reasons we are not achieving or cannot achieve our objectives.

Examples of ineffective questions include:

What's the problem on this project?

What's your problem?

Who made that decision?

Why are we so far behind?

Don't you know better than that?

As leaders, we have a choice. We can focus our energy and attention on all the reasons we cannot achieve the results or we can focus on how to create the results we want to accomplish. Often times, whether people become part of the problem or part of the solution relates directly to the way we ask questions of ourselves and others.

Examples of effective questions include:

What is working well with it?

How do you feel about the project so far?

What could be improved to increase effectiveness?

What key things need to happen to achieve the objective?

What support do you need to assure success?

To continue to build your skill in asking effective questions, consider these suggestions:

Ask more open-ended questions. These are questions that begin with "Describe", "Tell me about", "Give me an example of". Closed questions can be answered with "yes" or "no". Open ended questions allow for more dialogue and information to be exchanged.

Encourage the person you are speaking with to ask you more open-ended questions. Again, this helps the dialogue.

Listen carefully to answers. After asking a powerful question, listen and process the information before moving on to the next question. The goal is not to see how many compelling questions you can ask but to use questions as a tool to gather information.

Be careful not to ask too many questions at one time. If you "rapid fire" questions at someone, they may have the perception that you are "fishing" or you really don't have a purpose. Use your effective questions wisely.

Like all skills, questioning improves quickly with practice and technique. It is a foundation of understanding and is absolutely essential for excellent leadership. Use this Ultimate Leadership Tool and watch your results improve!

Until next time, Leaders Develop Daily....Not In A Day!

If you are interested in leadership coaching, please contact me. Would love to help and support you in your leadership journey.

Effortlessly program your mind for success! Click Here Now to find out more.

Chris Tunstall
Leadership Coach & Speaker

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