People who ask questions are better leaders than those who don’t. The types of questions you ask determine how well you differentiate yourself as a leader. Below is a simple tool to measure effectiveness.
Of course, the strength of a question is subject to the context within which it is asked. For example, even a backward-focused question, when timed well, is necessary and effective. So there is a Degree of Strength in asking it.
Those who lead high performing teams, however, don’t rationalize the repeated use of low-impact, small-strength questions. Instead, they consider the cumulative effective of their inquiries, and consistently favor the greater-strength questions.
Use this Strength of Question Index to determine your team’s level of effectiveness at asking questions.
Degree of +1 (or less)
– have a backward focus. Example: Why do we keep making the same mistake?
– solicit right or wrong answers (and the inquirer is the judge). Example: What happened the last time we dropped the ball?
– interrogate others. Example: Did you get it done?
Degree of +2:
– people rarely answer. Example: How can I help? Or, Are there any questions?
– without specific focus. Example: What do you think?
Degree of +3 (or more)
– create aligned execution. Example: What does success look like?
– develop accountability. Example: How will you know you are succeeding?
– generate ownership. Example: Why is it personally important to you?
– inspire others. Example: What is possible in this moment?
I once had a colleague chart the questions I asked during a meeting. The results surprised me and spurred new growth.
Where on the index do you play? Where do you want to play? (What’s possible?)
We’re creating a movement of leaders who ask great questions. Please share what resonates for you in the space below.