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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Asking the Right Questions


I am a proponent of a leadership style that involves a great deal of teaching or coaching versus a style that requires telling or directing work.  I have even written about this belief of Teach Don't Tell before.  One of the most effective ways to coach or lead is through the use of questions.

People generally try to provide a response to the questions that you ask.  The validity and reliability of the responses may be subject to question though.  How do you as a leader move people and the organization forward?  It will not be done on

There are many different questioning strategies that leaders can employ.   The easiest strategy is to change the first word in your question.  Most people by nature ask "What" questions.  These questions elicit responses that do not require much critical thinking.  The best shift in questioning will occur when you stop asking "What" and begin asking "Why".  The answers to "Why" questions are often more complex and get to the root of the issue.

Try asking three consecutive "Why" questions to seek a better understanding of a decision or a situation. By the end of the third "Why" you typically reach the core belief or root cause.

"Why" not try it and see if you get different results.

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