Guest Post by Judy Douglass

You’ve probably noticed, when reading the Gospels, that Jesus was consistent in his conversation. He asked a lot of questions.

If you think about it, asking questions implies something so critical to leading: a willingness to listen.

Now I’ve known people who ask lots of questions, but they don’t listen.  You’ve barely begun to reply before they ask another question.  I don’t think that’s how Jesus did it.  Nor should we.

Perhaps, in order to listen well and learn something from the person we are talking with, we should seek to ask questions that draw people out, that create a safe environment, that encourage open minds and open hearts, that say I care about you.

The need to listen is true for all relationships:  where we work and lead, with friends and acquaintances, with spouse and children, with those we know well and those we just met.  By asking questions and listening to responses, we demonstrate that we truly care about them and we go much deeper in our understanding of them.  We lead better, friendships grow, family ties strengthen, trust increases.

Here are 10 questions I love to ask:

1. What are you thankful for today?

2.  What is something you have learned lately?

3.  If you could change something in your life (circumstances, job, attitude, family…), what would it be?

4.  What/who has encouraged you this week?

5.  If you could design your own job, what would it look like?

6.  What book (or movie) has influenced you in the past month?

7.  What is something you’ve often dreamed of doing?

8.  What is the scariest/most challenging thing you have ever done?

9.  If someone asked you for advice for a happy life, what would you tell them?

10. And my favorite: How has God surprised you lately?

It never ceases to amaze me where conversations can go from listening to answers to such questions.

What about you?  What are some of your favorite questions?

Judy Douglass is a writer, speaker and encourager.  She partners with her husband, Steve, to lead Cru.  A former magazine editor and author of five books, Judy travels the globe to love and encourage staff to believe God for the more He wants to do in and through them.  She writes at “Kindling” and tweets @Jeedoo417

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