by WARREN BERGER, 7/2/14
“Questioning is undoubtedly a valuable leadership tool. Asking the right questions can help business leaders to anticipate changes, seize opportunities, and move their organizations in new directions.
But how you question is critical. Questions can be great for engaging and motivating people , but they can just as easily be used to confront or blame, and can shift the mood from positive to negative. “We live in the world our questions create,” says David Cooperrider, a professor at Case Western Reserve University and a pioneer of “Appreciative Inquiry,” which holds that questions focusing on strengths and using positive language are far more useful to organizations than questions with a negative focus.
So what are some specific questions to avoid? Based on conversations with Cooperrider and several other leadership experts for my recent book, here are five examples of very common questions leaders may ask that can have the unintended effect of leading people in the wrong direction. With simple tweaks, the same questions can be used to engage people, rather than discourage them.”
“What’s the problem?”
“Whose fault is it?”
“Why don’t you do it this way?”
“Haven’t we tried this already?”
“What’s our iPad?”