Questions illuminate; providing greater and deeper understanding. They shift our understanding and comprehension of meaning and intent. Questions are the means by which we draw from very different perspectives and find commonality.
However, to accomplish these valuable results, we must follow key techniques. First, we must maintain an openness to a different point of view. It is easy to revert to defending our position when we are confronted with a different perspective. Doing so only causes us to become stuck in our opinion and lose the ability to gain from other perspectives.
We also must be humble. Humility allows us to accept a position of learning and gives us the ability to consider that our perspective might be incomplete. Being humble also allows us to ask questions of ourselves. Questions about our intent and why we have made the decisions we are making have the ability for us to consider how we can improve our decision-making.
Another key is asking great questions. Some leaders ask questions, but they are not the best questions or the most helpful questions. For example, some leaders will ask how much money are we making. That is not a bad question, but not the best. A better question might be, how do we define success? If we evaluate our work just by one criterion, we will miss out on whether we are actually succeeding or not. Evaluating our definition of success ensures that we are measuring the right results.
Questions can assist in moving from conflict to understanding and agreement.
Questions allow us to take the best of both ideas and to collaborate for mutual benefit. Once I understand more about your perspective, I can glean where our ideas overlap and where there is a commonality for us to build on.
What questions are you asking? Are you willing to ask the hard questions of yourself and others? Questions help us become the best we can be. Let’s focus on asking each other and ourselves the best questions possible to continue our journey of growth.