How often have you had a boss, a parent, a spouse or a sales person tell you how to do something? Odds are that you felt somewhat put down – you didn’t like being told and would prefer to have that other person ask questions (or at least ask your permission to show you how to do a task.
The best leaders master the ask, instead of the tell. Instead of telling people “this won’t work” or “do it this way”, they ask questions such as:
- How could we do a better job of…?
- What are your thoughts on…?
- Where are we missing an opportunity…?
- What do you think about…?
- How will we fund this…?
Asking people leads them to answer the questions themselves (self-discovery) which leads to involvement, ownership and eventually commitment.
As a sales person, how can you ask better questions of your customer so that your customer starts questioning the status quo (for a structure of how to ask great questions, SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham is highly recommended).
As a parent, how can you ask your child better questions? It is so easy to continue to tell kids the world according to Mum or Dad (and maybe pass on your limiting beliefs).
As a boss, how can you ask your followers great questions to inspire them on to ownership and commitment?