In a Harvard Business Review, when asked to name the one attribute CEOs will need most to succeed in the turbulent times, Michael Dell, the chief executive of Dell, Inc., replied, “I would place my bet on curiosity.” Dell was responding to a 2015 PWC survey , a number of whom cited “curiosity” and “open-mindedness” as leadership traits that are increasingly critical in challenging times. In fact, early in your career, you provide answers. The higher you go, the more questions matter.
A curious, inquisitive leader can set an example that inspires creative thinking throughout the company. ~ Adrean Turner
Brian Grazer, author of “A Curious Mind”, writes, “If you’re the boss, and you manage by asking questions, you’re laying the foundation for the culture of your company or your group”. To craft power questions that energizes thinking, engages employees and builds confidence for communication try these ideas:
•ENABLE OPENNESS. Ask questions that begin with what, how, when, and where. For example, “What steps are necessary for a successful plan?”; “How can we increase customer satisfaction?”; “When will the team have the information to get started on phase 2?” Open ended questions expand discussions by creating opportunities for questions and answers that increase communication and learning.
•USE METAPHORS. According to Get In Front Communications, metaphors help to capture attention, create emotional connections and simplifies complex thoughts and ideas. Try asking, “What would it look like if you hit a home run?”; “How could you score a touchdown”?
•INCLUDE ACTION. Use terms like, doing and trying. For example, “What did you do that made this come together?”, “What would you try to close the gap?”.
•ADD A TIME COMPONENT. Ask, “When will you try that?” or “What’s next?”. Deadlines and timelines give insight into goals and necessary steps for action. This can inspire team members to consider alternatives based on solely on those restraints.
•CHANGE THE PERSPECTIVE. Ask, “What would you say if you were the CEO?” “What would do if you were the manager?”. Providing feedback or insights from the lens of a leader can inform of different ideas that can be useful for problem solving and decision-making.
Watch the video and share you thoughts on how you will use these power questions for greater performance and results.