Another Handful of Tips 3 – Asking better questions
Effective leaders need to master the skills of asking questions to find essential information and to develop a closer relationship with people. Without the right question you will never get the right answer.
1. Show a genuine interest and concern
Build up a rapport by discussing topics of mutual interest before asking questions.
Ask your question, then pause. Listen carefully to answers and explanations.
2. Ask open-ended questions
Ask questions to get people talking. Ask people about their ideas and their motives for doing things. ‘What’, ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘how’ and ‘how much’ are always good starting questions.
3. Probe for honest answers
If there is a serious problem, it usually indicates some other issues are festering under the surface.
Dig deeper, keep asking direct questions to get to the bottom of the problem. Don’t jump to conclusions.
4. Try ‘suppose’ and ‘suggestion’ questions
“Suppose you were in charge, what changes would you make?” Suggest alternative solutions. “If you are not happy would you like to work in another department?”
5. Express gratitude
Thank the person for their thoughts and ideas. If you disagree with an answer don’t argue. Incorrect answers and vague replies will help you identify gaps in a person’s knowledge.
“Often it is not about what you ask, but how you ask.”