Questions are powerful tools. They can ignite hope and lead to new insights. They can also destroy hope and keep us stuck in bad assumptions. The key is to be intentional and choose our questions well.
I believe that questions are a crucial part of ones’ growth. As a leader, in order to grow the talents and skills of your team, you need to learn how to ask the right questions. Also, as part of your own personal development, on the path to determining your purpose you need to establish the practice of asking the right questions. A great way to develop better questions is by practicing the following.
1. Listen – Learn to pay attention to the people around you. By truly listening, we get to learn who people are. By listening to people, we discover what makes them tick, what their motivations are and who they really are. When we get better at listening, we learn what we should really be asking.
2. Care – We have to learn to care not just about the person we are asking questions to, but also care about the answers. If we find the person in front of us genuinely interesting, then our questions will get that much better. If we care about the answers the questions can provide, then we are more invested in the questions. Our minds and especially our imaginations become engaged when we care.
3. Be Persistent – Don’t stop with one question. Keep going. Better questions often develop only after you have asked a few bad ones. With the bad ones, you learn information that help you discover what a good one might be. This does not mean that you should become annoying and start bombarding someone with questions, just don’t give up easily.
4. Don’t Assume – You all know what they say about making assumptions. Make no assumptions, ask everything you think might be important or relevant.
5. Explore – Our reality is created by our experiences. If you expand your personal life experiences, your ability to ask questions will improve as well. Learning is not limited to school. Don’t settle for what you know about something right now. Life is ever-changing. Be an eternal student, learn more, read more, travel more, and explore at every turn. Strive to create new experiences.
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ~ Voltaire ~
Questions are not asked to seek the answers you want, but to get the answers you need. Good answers come from asking good questions and this takes practice.
So now go …. go start asking better questions.