“Ask Don’t Tell: 3 Questions That Will Make You a Better Leader!”

Guest Post by Karin Hurt

You know that asking the right questions will make you a stronger leader. But it’s hard. Not all questions have the same impact. And it’s risky. You never know what the response will be–which means you need to stay fully present to be helpful.

“When you ask a question you’re giving up some of your power. It means you’re willing to sit in that discomfort for the good of another person’s growth.” -Michael Bungay Stanier

In my continued quest to surround myself and learn from others aligned with the Winning Well philosophy, I had an opportunity to interview Michale Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More, & Change the Way You Lead Forever.

3 Questions That Will Make You A Better Leader

1. “What’s On Your Mind?”

Have you ever noticed that’s the prompt that Facebook asks as the invitation to post? It’s so simple. Asking

“What’s on your mind?”

And then staying quiet and really listening to the answer can be a tremendous gift. Michael shares: “Because it’s open, it invites people to get to the heart of the matter and share what’s really important to them. You’re not telling or guiding them. You’re showing them the trust and granting them the autonomy to make the choice for themselves.”

2. AWE – “And What Else?”

Michael shared that in many circumstances the easy-follow-up,

“And what else?”

can open the door to deeper conversation. “There are three reasons it has the impact it does: more options can lead to better decisions; you rein yourself in; and you buy yourself time. ” It helps you to stay curious and not jump right into offering advice. The deeper understanding you have of the situation, the more you can discuss viable options.

Let’s play this out.

“What’s on your mind?”

“My boss is such a jerk, he keeps freaking out.”

“Oh, that sounds just terrible. That must be really hard.”

“Yeah.”

“And what else is going on?”

“Well, he’s extra mad this week because I screwed up the spreadsheet.”

“Oh boy, what happened there? (a slightly different version of ‘and what else’).”

“I don’t really know how to do pivot tables.”

“And what else?”

“And I’m not really comfortable with all the formulas.”

And BINGO… you’re down to a solvable problem

3. The Foundation Question– What do you want?

the coaching habitI must say this is my favorite question in his book. Michael shares:

“I sometimes call it the Goldfish Question because it often elicits that response: slightly bugged eyes, and a mouth opening and closing with no sound coming out. Here’s why the question is so difficult to answer. We often don’t know what we actually want. Even if there’s a first fast answer, the question,

‘But what do you really want?’

will often stop people in their tracks.”

Being able to know what we want, articulate it respectfully, and then be willing to accept an answer– know that sometimes it will be “no–is a vital component for having healthy conversation and productive relationships. As a leader, being able to help others identify what they want is a good place to start.

Karin Hurt

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association’s 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of 3 books: Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Bossand Glowstone Peak.

MORE RECENT POSTS

Silence

Guest Post by Stan Oawster The more the words – The less the meaning! And how does that profit anyone?...

The Science of Asking Great Questions

Excerpted with permission from “No – the Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and...

What Questions Should We Be Asking Ourselves This 4th of July?

Guest Post by Craig Morgan Every year families gather for Fourth of July’s where we grill hot dogs, swim in...

What’s your next, most faithful step?

Guest Post by Jamie Graham Duprey  I used to spend a lot of time and energy worrying about the world ending....

A question for you…

Hello My friend, I truly hope that my note here today finds you healthy and doing well. As you know, I have a...

23 Questions to Ask Donors and Prospects

Guest Post by Simone Joyaux According to Dr. Adrian Sargeant, two-way interactions (i.e., the donor talks...

10 Questions to Ask Your Dad (or Grandpa) on Father’s Day

My Dad, Arnett Tiede, was the greatest influence on my life and was always my "Hero!"...

2 thoughts on ““Ask Don’t Tell: 3 Questions That Will Make You a Better Leader!”

  1. Karin Hurt says:

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Bob Tiede says:

      My Pleasure Karin! Thank you for your terrific “Guest Post!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.