Leaders can spend more time talking and less time listening to their team members and generally it is because the questions they ask are not uncovering what they need and want to know. Often this is because leaders believe they should have most of the answers or because they fear the answers to their questions.
So here are 10 powerful questions that can uncover the truth, the perceptions and self-limiting beliefs of others. And at the same time, keep you focused on success.
- What is it that we as a team fear the most?
- What beliefs do we have that can’t be verified as true?
- What are we consistently doing that makes us better as a team?
- How do we adapt to change, internal and external?
- What do we have control of that if changed, can increase success?
- What should we stop doing now?
- What “inside talk” does each of us have that limits our performance?
- If I were to suddenly die or become disabled, how would the team move on?
- Are we consistently demonstrating our values? And if so, how?
- Is each of us positioned to use our strengths each and every day?
In addition to these questions, practice curiosity. Listen to your internal voice and the questions that you ask yourself. What is causing you to ask them? Is it a method of self-reflection or the inability to answer a difficult question?
For instance, questions for self-reflection can only be answered by you and sound something like this:
“What is important to me in this job?” or ”What do I fear most?”
Questions that you don’t have an answer to or you aren’t sure which decision to make are ones that others may have the answer are the ones that shouldn’t remain internal to you but be asked to others. These questions can include good coaching questions, which allow others to self reflect:
“What makes you concerned about this situation?” or ” How did you come to that conclusion?” Notice that these questions are focused on the other person and are constructed as open-ended questions to gain insight into the feelings and thoughts of the other person that you don’t have access to unless asking a question.
As a leader you can incorporate the 10 questions into team and individual meetings and by doing so elevate the level of conversation, discovery, and innovation within your department and organization. Think about what it is that you don’t have questions to and ask them of others.
Which of the questions above make you the most uncomfortable asking? This is the question you should start with!
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