Questions that Bring People to Life
Experience shows that most leaders are lousy question askers. Maybe it’s lack of practice?
Not long ago, I met a leader who asked interesting questions. He was interesting TO me because he was interested IN me. But he didn’t pry.
Be interested in others, if you hope to be interesting to others.
Genuine curiosity feels like love and respect.
A good question brings people to life.
Second question rule:
Try the two-question rule for a day. “Ask at least two questions before making one statement.”
The second question invites thought and adds vitality.
- What’s the toughest part of your job? What would be true for you/others if you were great at that?
- What are you doing at work when you feel you’re most alive? What does that energy say about you?
- If you challenged yourself to achieve more in only one area, what area would you focus on? What makes that important to you?
- What compliments do you most frequently receive? What might you do differently today to maximize the talent others see in you?
- What are you doing when time flies? How do those activities add value to others?
- What are you doing for others that you’d like to brag about? How might you engage in brag-worthy behaviors?
- What’s the most interesting part of your day? How does that part of your day bring value to your team?
- If you challenged yourself to improve as a leader, what one area would you focus on? What does getting better in that area do for you? For others?
- How do you want your team to feel when you’re around? What will you do today to create opportunity for them to feel that way?
Tip: Display an approving heart or curiosity feels like judgement.
Which questions most interest and/or energize you?
What question could you ask today that might energize others?
We should ask ‘because we care about them”.
Is it possible to Love all? Oddly that was in an Astrology excerpt!
That fact we show genuine caring interest in someone helps build relationships beyond the workforce!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, we never know what we can learn today, till one asks the question!
Thanks Tim. Caring curiosity! That’s the ticket.
I’ve always been curious about how being curious can come across as judgmental …
“Display an affirming heart” or else you may be seen as not…
THAT explains a few things … thanks, for that Dan!
Thanks Rurbane. Your comment encourages me!
I heartily approve of the work you do; carry on!
Once this post and response cycle is done, would you please summarize the one theme/meme that emerges and inspires you – for the rest of us to profit as well? Thx!
MERRY CHRISTMAS DAN! Thanks for a great year of Leadership Freak! I always look forward to opening my emails in the morning and gaining some wisdom from your thoughts.
Merry Christmas Robert! Thanks for the good word and thank you for being a subscriber.
Dan, this will be a long response, but I need to tell you. Two years ago, the company I work for hired a new Director of Marketing for our department. Jeff immediately earned the respect and trust of not only our whole team, but the rest of the company. He was caring, compassionate, and passionate about his work. One day he sent me a link to your blog about a topic he felt was relevant for me. Since I already looked to him as a mentor, I immediately subscribed so I could get a better understanding of where he was coming from, and learn from the same things he was learning from. He was a TRUE servant leader. 3 and a half months after starting his position with us, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, brain cancer. He underwent two surgeries in a year and fought hard to fight the disease. He remained positive and grateful the entire process. Two days ago, he lost his fight. While he was with us for a short period of time, his impact was great. Every time I read one of your blogs, I am reminded of him, and his amazing leadership. Thank you for your work, thank you for inspiring Jeff, and thank you for inspiring me to be a better leader!
Wow!! Thanks for sharing, Stacy. Your message that we can make a big difference in a short time is powerful and encouraging.
You have my condolences.
This is such a powerful read. I get chills. He was a great man indeed, for having influenced you all like that. I hope he is resting wherever he is now. Hugs.
Excellent questions! Sometimes it is hard to not come across as judgmental or prying, maybe it takes practice! I’m printing this to hang on my wall and… leaving room for additional questions to ask.
Thanks Sandy. Yes, we can get too excited about questions and seem pushy. I know I can do that. One thing you might try is to share a bit of yourself during the inquiry. Obviously, don’t steal the conversation. Don’t out-do. But sharing a story about our self helps keep us on equal footing during the conversation. Self-deprecating stories are particularly useful.
“He was interesting TO me because he was interested IN me. But he didn’t pry.” I like the part about “But he didn’t pry” I always try to ask questions only about things they reveal to me. Everyone is different, and some people are more private than others. As I ask about information they reveal to me, I find that they reveal more and more about themselves as we go along. Each person does it at their own pace. It lets them have control.
Thanks Pat. I find the idea that we should monitor the other persons path toward self-revelation useful. Some people open up quickly. It’s obvious. Asking them “prying” questions is probably ok, even desirable. But, when people don’t quickly reveal personal information, don’t keep prying. Maybe reveal something about yourself and see how they respond.
For a good example of asking questions, check out this story of urban missions https://tifwe.org/the-uber-missionary/?utm_source=IFWE+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=41ccb5da5d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_12_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8ffd80135f-41ccb5da5d-77703541&mc_cid=41ccb5da5d&mc_eid=d3f7374ccb
I am not a questioner and learning that my tendency is Obliger, according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies has helped me understand myself better. I appreciate having questions pre-thought out for me to ask of others. Questions reveal so much about a person and they do feel more cared about because we ask.
I like questions 2, 3, 8, and 9. For me, those questions drive me toward looking for growth opportunities.
Great coaching questions leading to conversation benefiting all participants. This could be used in a group setting as well; or ask one question for participants to consider individually at first, to be discussed later in a 1:1 meeting.