CHICAGO–Leaders often need quick solutions to challenges, but that often means no time for taking a deeper look at an issue. But Dan Rockwell, writing on the LeadershipFreak.blog, suggests leaders need to ask powerful questions that he said are more effective than just statements.
How does one know if a question is really powerful? Rockwell offers these six keys to knowing whether a question was spot-on:
“Curiosity comes before solution and innovation,” said Rockwell. “You know you’ve been asked a powerful question when it causes you to pause and wonder. Your eyes go to the ceiling. Your brain lights up.”
Uncover New Insights
The rehashing of old ideas produces stability at first and stagnation in the end, according to Rockwell. For that reason, he said conversations with team members should conclude with other questions, such as “And what else?” and/or “What questions should I be asking?”
Explore Vision and Values
The challenge of busyness is losing sight of what matters, according to Rockwell.
“We’ve all ended the day wondering what we accomplished,” he said.
To that end, he said leaders should ask three questions of themselves:
- What makes this important to you?
- Where will you be in a month if you continue on your current path?
- How did you live your values today?
Consider Possibilities, Not Simply Problems
Getting lost in problems is a deadly seduction of leadership, said Rockwell. “Yes, leaders help solve problems,” he observed. “But more importantly, leaders explore possibilities.”
Leaders need to ask themselves:
- If you weren’t solving this problem, what opportunity would you seize?
- If you didn’t have these problems to solve, what would you do?
- What might a new CEO do to move your organization forward?
Generate Positive Energy
To generate positive energy, Rockwell suggests credit union leaders ask:
- What would you like to do about that?
- What do you really want?
- How can I help?
- What will be different if you succeed?
Begin with “What,” “How,” or “Who”
Yes or no questions call for short responses. A “what” question invites a conversation, said Rockwell.
He recommends leaders avoid questions that begin with “Wouldn’t you…?,” “Are you…?,” and “Shouldn’t you…?”