Asking Questions is foundational to CO2 Partners and founder Gary Cohen. He is not alone in his remarkable approach to leadership: ask great questions. In this series of posts, I am discussing “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life” by Marilee Adams, MSW, Ph.D. She offers 10 very powerful tools to improve communication–both personally and professionally by how you ask questions. Today, I’ll focus on tools 7 & 8.
Tool 7: Switch the Questions you Ask
Dr. Adams says that to go from JUDGER to LEARNER, we must switch the questions. We should ask questions that take feelings into account. More specifically, we should ask questions that make us and our teams feel good. Here are some questions that can do that:
- Am I judging?
- Is this the best choice that I can make right now?
- What assumptions led me to this place?
- Is this how I want to feel?
- How is the other person feeling?
We all like to think that we make decisions based on facts and well-thought-out analysis. We don’t. Author and speaker, Pete Hinojosa, says that 1/3 of us are task oriented and 2/3 of us are people oriented. People-oriented people tend to make decisions based on feelings and emotions as opposed to the task (or data)-driven individual.
In JUDGER mode, we often ignore others’ feelings–to our detriment and theirs. Start taking feelings into account. Switch the questions and get out of JUDGER mode.
Tool 8: Create LEARNER Teams
What would it be like to work with a team that points fingers, blames others, and has multiple competing agendas? Compare that against your experiences where the team worked from a single agenda, where team members were genuinely curious, and blaming and finger pointing just did not happen. How do you feel as you think about those two scenarios? Do you feel your energy and satisfaction level increase just reading the latter? Now, how do you take your team from where they are to where they need to go? Create teams that want to learn by asking the right questions.
The final blog post will provide you and your team with more question-asking tools to ask questions more effectively.