• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Leaders, Avoid These Questions


Questions can engage and motivate people, but they can also discourage them by seeming confrontational. To engage employees (not scare them), reframe these questions:

+ What’s the problem? Rather than fixating on problems and weaknesses, use positive questions geared toward leveraging strengths and opportunities and achieving goals: What are we doing well, and how might we build upon that?

+ Whose fault is it? This focuses on finding a scapegoat when there is likely plenty of blame to go around. To identify weak links without focusing too much on blame, ask: How can we work together to shore up any weaknesses?

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+ Haven’t we tried this already? This is important to ask, but the wrong tone makes it sound condescending and defeatist. It doesn’t recognize that failure could have been due to bad timing, not the idea itself. Ask: If we tried this now, what would be different – and how might it change the results?

(Adapted from “5 Common Questions Leaders Should Never Ask” by Warren Berger.)