Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Leadership - The Art of Questions

In my former work I had team members in ten countries. I learned very fast that the best skill I could have as a leader/manager was to ask great questions. Today I spend a bulk of my time in coaching conversations with leaders. Regardless of how long you have been a leader, the art of questions is critical.

I really enjoy the parts of my work that have me face to face with new leaders, whether I am leading a training or group coaching process with them. Time and time again, we come back to the basics - communication.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind with respect to the art of questions:

- Great questions are related to what is being said. That really means that we have to listen to what the person is saying to us, not thinking about what question needs to come next. Next conversation you have with a staff, really listen and trust that the right question will come. If not, pause and think about it.

- Great questions are short, sweet and to the point. When did you last get lost in a question someone asked you?

- Great questions are often open-ended, inviting someone to elaborate. Is your question designed to solicit input or is it designed for something else?

- Why questions often put people on the defensive. Why questions however are loved by "why" learners - those that learn through asking the Why?

- How questions will put people into process and may limit creativity and innovation. Try starting with a WHAT question around creativity/innovation and then move to a HOW question.

Next time you are in a conversation, reflect on how you did, AFTER the conversation (not during it). What did you do to really listen and ask great questions?

Have a great week,

Jennifer Britton
Potentials Realized
Coaching, Training and Consulting Services - Leadership, Teamwork, Performance
Phone: (416)996-TEAM (8326)


daryl said...

Love this post Jennifer. As much as I am tap into my natural curiousity, it is an excellent reminder to be intentional with questions. Thanks for sharing. Daryl

Anonymous said...

Its really a nice post on leading through questioning. I would love to share it on my blog to help my readers to make their most out of their leading life. Deepak@corporatehour

Hussam said...

For sure, it takes a great deal of efforts in order to prove your self as leaders. Leadership is a quality that cant be learned, its present within a person. Time Share Property