Are you a person who asks a lot of questions? If not, have you ever asked yourself why?
Our ability to ask questions has a huge impact on our lives and our interactions with others. It's the key to understanding. Yet, we may not know which questions to ask.
Thomas J. Watson Sr. said, "The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer." Begin by clarifying what you're trying to find out.
Are you looking for facts? Do you need an expert opinion? Are you asking others to share their experience or skills? Once you begin to explore, dig deeper.
"Why" questions are particularly productive for learning more.
In his book "Good Leaders Ask Great Questions", John Maxwell promotes the value of asking questions as a leadership lifestyle. Here are just a few of the reasons that questions are so powerful:
1. You only get answers to the questions you ask.
At one time or another most of us have said, "I have a question for you and I know it may sound dumb." We might even have decided not to ask the question because we thought it might seem foolish. But without questions, we can't expect to find answers. It's okay to admit what you don't know. In fact, it's empowering.
"It is better to look uninformed than to be uninformed." - Richard Thalheimer
2. Questions unlock and open doors that otherwise remain closed.
Because questions lead to understanding, they can take us places we didn't know existed. This is particularly important in business. We can't know what other people think unless we ask. When we open ourselves up to answers, we expand the possibilities for everyone.
"My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions." - Peter Drucker
3. Questions are the most effective means of connecting with people.
In "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect", John Maxwell emphasizes the power of questions as a way to build relationships. As leaders, we need to connect with our team and this involves asking great questions. Since we have limited time and energy, we need to be efficient when asking questions.
As author Scott Fay recommends, the following two questions are often all we need:
1. Do you want me to help you?
2. Do you trust me?
By asking these two simple questions, we can create an amazing connection. That's because these questions do more than seek answers. They offer help in collectively finding a solution.
4. Questions cultivate humility.
Being a leader does not mean that you have all the answers. People who ask great questions humble themselves and become teachable. They admit what they do not know and welcome information from others.
"Humility is not denying your strengths. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses." - Rick Warren
In our next blog, we'll cover more reasons why we need to embrace asking questions as part of strong leadership.
1. Be intentional this week about asking great questions.
2. Put thought into your questions before asking them.
3. Ask "why" questions to prompt communication and connection with people.
4. "A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions." - Brian Tracy
The best is yet to come. Its starts with you!