Education and many workplace experiences tend to encourage a focus on having the “right” answers.
But, much of our workday is spent asking others for information.
Yet unlike professionals such as lawyers, journalists, and doctors, who are taught how to ask questions as an essential part of their training, few executives think of questioning as a skill that can be honed.
That’s a missed opportunity.
Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking value in organizations: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and performance improvement, it builds rapport and trust among team members. And it can mitigate business risk by uncovering unforeseen pitfalls and hazards.
For some people, questioning comes easily. Their natural inquisitiveness, emotional intelligence, and ability to read people put the ideal question on the tip of their tongue.
But most of us don’t ask enough questions, nor do we pose our inquiries in an optimal way.
The good news is that by asking questions, we naturally improve our emotional intelligence, which in turn makes us better questioners—a virtuous cycle.
In this Harvard Business Review article, the authors draw on insights from behavioral science research to explore how the way we frame questions and choose to answer our counterparts can influence the outcome of conversations. They discuss the best type, tone, sequence, and framing of questions and for deciding what and how much information to share to reap the most benefit from our interactions, not just for ourselves but for our organizations.
You can read the HBR article here . .
One of my mentors always told me “Dan, you will be remembered for the questions you ask, not the answers you gave”.
That still intrigues me . . .
Maybe we should all all focus on asking better questions.