Stop Telling, Start Asking

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What is one simple tip to help increase both the motivation and accountability of your team?

You should be asking questions, not making statements.

One of the biggest concerns that people express in our workshops is that their employees constantly bring them questions or problems or decisions that the employee themselves could probably fix, answer or address.

What is it that causes these employees to bring the questions to the leader and for the leader essentially to keep dispensing answers?

It’s easier for the employees to ask you, the leader, to answer their questions rather than thinking for themselves. If you, instead of answering their questions, would ask questions of them, it would get them to start to think about solutions and answers that would help manage the work more independently.

Some of the questions that you might ask them would be things like, “What do you think would work?” or, “How would you deal with this?” or, “How do you think your behavior is impacting this outcome that is a concern?”

If you were to take the time to ask good questions, your team would become more self-independent. Share on X

Now let’s examine that last example a little closer.

In a coaching or correcting conversation, you ask, “How do you think this behavior of yours…(it could be taking long breaks, socializing too much or not following procedures)…is influencing this outcome… (production numbers, your coworkers)?” An example might be, “How do you think taking excessive personal breaks affects your coworkers?”

Leader answering teams questions

Now you’ve got a very powerful question that can help the employee start to think through the impact of their behaviors on others.

Leaders believe that dispensing answers is often the most efficient way to lead their work group, when in reality, if you were to take the time to ask good questions, your team would become more self-independent, freeing you up to make decisions on bigger issues and continuous improvement opportunities.