We all know that asking questions it a powerful leadership tool, but most leaders are ill-equipped to apply this knowledge with their team. Bob Tiede has studied and written about asking questions for year and offers really practical questions in his new, free e-book, Great Leaders Ask Questions: A Fortune 100 List.

Here is an excerpt from his book that reveals 4 questions that can elevate your leadership game.

If you were in a row boat with your team, how many of them would you want to have row? Might your answer be all of them? How happy would you be if you ended up being the only one rowing? Probably not so much. Why then would you want to tackle the challenges, opportunities, problems, and changes needed in your company by telling your staff what they should do? Why would you not want to get all their oars in the water by asking them, "What do you think?"

This one simple step has the potential to notably increase your leadership effectiveness! How do you feel when your boss, colleague, or friend asks you: "What do you think about this challenge or opportunity?"

Valued? Respected? Esteemed? Appreciated?

How might those you supervise, your colleagues, or your friends feel when you ask them: "What do you think about this challenge, opportunity, or issue?" Maybe you are like many folks I meet, who share that they would love to learn to "lead with questions," but are not sure they have time to learn this new skill.

I share with them that I can teach them how to do so in less than 30 seconds! All they have to do is memorize these 4 questions:

  1. What do you think?
  2. What else?
  3. What else?
  4. What else?

Can you now close your eyes and repeat back these 4 questions? Congratulations! You are on your way to leading with questions--and in less than 30 seconds! You will find that sometimes the greatest thoughts will come from the third time you ask, "What else?"

When others feel your appreciation for their responses, they begin to feel safe to share their very best thoughts. And you will be the beneficiary! Tiede goes on to share four questions a consultant he knows uses to make a nice income:

  1. What is going well?
  2. What's not?
  3. Where are you stuck?
  4. What needs to change?

He shares that the order above is very important, and starting with "What is going well?" is absolutely essential. In fact, he will spend half of the time on question one, because the time he spends cheering their successes is what creates a safe environment for asking questions two through four.

As Andrew Sobel says, "Telling creates resistance. Asking creates relationships."

Published on: Nov 25, 2015
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