“I have learned that leadership is not about knowing all the answers. It’s about knowing what great questions to ask, and carefully listening to those answers.” – Patrick Thng, managing director, Development Bank of Singapore
In my opinion, one of our best tools in leading others and communicating effectively is in asking great questions. Great questions cause people to focus and stretch, they create deep reflection. They can challenge assumptions or generate positive action.
In his book, Leading with Questions, Michael Marquardt describes how leaders are able to transform their organizations just by asking questions that empower others. It’s a fantastic resource that I would encourage all leaders to read.
Here are some questions that Marquardt shares in his book:
- What do you think about…..?
- What possibilities come to mind?
- What do you think you will lose if you give up..[the point under discussion]?
- Can that be done in any other way?
- What other options can we think of?
- What is stopping us?
- Can you help me understand….?
In my work as an executive coach and consultant, I’ve found that asking good questions leads to better results. It seems I was born asking the question “why?” so asking questions comes naturally to me. Still, I find that I must work continually to ask great questions that will help inspire, motivate, and empower others.
What questions have you used that have been effective in leading others?