How to Fuel Energy and Explore Possibility

The need for a quick solution prevents leaders from asking powerful questions.

What if questions are more powerful than statements?

Powerful questions:

#1. Ignite curiosity.

Curiosity comes before solution and innovation.

You know you’ve been asked a powerful question when it causes you to pause and wonder. Your eyes go to the ceiling. Your brain lights up.

#2. Uncover new insights.

The rehashing of old ideas produces stability at first and stagnation in the end.

  1. And what else?
  2. What questions should I be asking? (Use this when you aren’t sure what to ask.)

#3. Explore vision and values.

The challenge of busyness is losing sight of what matters. We’ve all ended the day wondering what we accomplished.

  1. What makes this important to you?
  2. Where will you be in a month if you continue on your current path?
  3. How did you live your values today?

#4. Consider possibilities, not simply problems.

Getting lost in problems is a deadly seduction of leadership. Yes, leaders help solve problems. But more importantly, leaders explore possibilities.

  1. If you weren’t solving this problem, what opportunity would you seize?
  2. If you didn’t have these problems to solve, what would you do?
  3. What might a new CEO do to move your organization forward?

#5. Generate positive energy.

  1. What would you like to do about that?
  2. What do you really want?
  3. How can I help?
  4. What will be different if you succeed?

#6. Begin with “what”, “how”, or “who”.

Yes or no questions call for short responses. A “what” question invites a conversation.

Avoid questions that begin with:

  1. Wouldn’t you…?
  2. Are you…?
  3. Shouldn’t you…?

“What makes your job fulfilling?” is better than, “Do you like your job?”

“When are you most energized?” is better than, “Are you energized?”

Warning: “Why” questions may sound like accusations.

How might leaders craft powerful questions?

What would you like people to ask you?