Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Effective Questioning

"Enlightened" leaders will use effective questions as part of their routine communications with their employees or teams. The purpose of asking effective questions is not only so that the leader can hear the answers, but also that the persons asked can hear their own answers and, thereby, gain some clarify for themselves or begin to adopt or internalize something that they have only grasped intellectually before speaking about it.

Answers that are most effective for people are those that they give themselves. When people are told the answers to questions they may understand the answer intellectually, but they will still need to internalize and understand, or gain clarity, themselves. This is why so many employees are "on board" with the organization's they serve - they have not yet been able to gain clarity or to adopt, or internalize, the issues at hand. As human beings, we have a natural resistance to someone else's answers or ways of doing things, no matter how good or logical they may be. Adopting a leader's way of doing things, thought processes, or the organizational goal and objectives happens much faster when the employee can assimilate and provide the answers on their own.

Finding clarity in our own explanations is empowering and energizing because we see that we have the ability to find solutions on our own. By asking effective questions leaders can generate insights rather than waiting for those rare occasions when they may occur spontaneously. Effective questions are a tool for managing clarity and enhancing creativity as well as empowering those that you lead.


Copyright M. A. Webb, 2004-2006. All Rights Reserved.

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