Brighton Leadership Group

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Ask Powerful Questions to Create a More Wonderful World!

Do you have a curious mindset? What’s your ratio of asking versus telling?
We’ve seen outstanding results when the leaders we coach have shifted to a curious mindset and started asking instead of telling. But not all questions are created equal. Be careful to avoid questions that can seem accusatory and generate a negative threat response (such as, “what were you thinking?”). These types of questions are counterproductive, because they immediately put the person on the defensive and do not allow for any clarification of misunderstanding or opportunity for growth. Instead, ask productive questions by:

  • Asking open-ended questions to inspire action. That means the answer is more than yes, no or one word. You are not conducting an interrogation, or even an interview! Change comes from asking questions that cause the person to think. When you pose a question, the mind cannot help itself, it needs an answer! “What if”, “why”, and “why not” questions can open possibilities and challenge the status quo. Innovative solutions are sparked by avoiding binary thinking (seeing things in terms of right/wrong, either/or, etc.) and instead considering what could be.
  • Asking neutral questions by eliminating bias. The best questions don’t serve a hidden agenda. Your goal is to provoke an honest, thoughtful opinion, not a reply that parrots what the person thinks you want to hear. Consider the quality of response you might receive from these versions of the same question:

“Isn’t this new policy helpful?”
“Is this new policy helpful?”
“What do you think of the new policy?”

Which option would get the best feedback?

  • Asking questions from a place of curiosity (not telling disguised as asking.) When you believe you have a solution and you are trying to make the case to move forward, you may overlook input that enhances the solution or even changes it. Curiosity is a mindset that can be frustrating when you value speed but is essential when creativity and innovation are top priorities. Curiosity also inhibits judgement, which allows people to share freely without fear of being dismissed as ignorant or incompetent as you are exploring answers together. Learn to pay attention to other perspectives, regardless of whether you agree with them, and seek to understand the ideas and emotions that fuel them.

Like any other skill, asking questions effectively requires thoughtful effort and regular practice before it becomes a natural habit. The benefits to your relationships, your team and your organization are well worth the investment.
The more you are curious, eliminate bias and ask powerful questions, the more wonderful the world around you will become!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Articles

change succeed

4 Tips to Succeed When Leading at the Pace of Change

Would you say the pace of change has increased, decreased or remained the same? Your perception matters and it impacts every facet of your leadership. …

Read More →
strategies of successful leaders

Strategies of Successful Leaders

Over the last few weeks we recorded a series of videos addressing leadership challenges identified by members of the group Scott mentors from the Executive’s …

Read More →
lead with purpose

3 Ways to Lead With Purpose

We are celebrating Freedom week in honor of the Rebel Leader Community launch. You are free to lead with purpose is the theme of today’s …

Read More →
A curious leader

The Case for Curious Leadership

Nothing new comes from the status quo. There is no new awareness, no problem solving, no value creation, no innovation and no adaptability without asking …

Read More →
Scroll to Top