Powerful questions are the best tools in your kit. One question I love is: What do you recommend?
So much happens with this single question. Let’s look at a couple perspectives:
When you ask this question, you immediately give permission to engage and participate. You imply that the person you are asking has a voice you are interested in hearing. We don’t need bystanders. The more involved team members are the better.
You create an insider
My business mentor was faced with the decision about taking an important job. He called me and asked me what I thought he should do. Now, he didn’t need my advice. He was probably asking many people for input. However, by his asking that question, I was instantly vested in his success in the new position and willingly provided support.
You learn something new
You can’t possibly have the full perspective on a situation. By asking this question you receive input representing a different view.
It’s a test question
The answer to the question tells you if the person has thought through the situation. Are they stuck at the surface level or are the thinking about it critically? Go easy…people may need a second to get used to participating like this.
Test for you too
The answer you want is one that reflects possibility rather than what they think will fly. For example, something like – “Let’s set up a partnership with our vendors to fund a multi-step marketing push” is very different than – “This will take many years because we don’t have budget for marketing like we want to do.” The answer helps guide you to create the leadership perspective you want and need.
Black or White vs. Grey
Many people think in black or white extremes. We know the opportunities are in the grey areas. The answer to the “What would you recommend?” question lets you know who can live in the grey.
To do this week: In your interactions this week ask the question: “What would you recommend?” Develop a process for how you will utilize this question in your leadership role.
Let me know how it’s goes. Click the “comments” box below to participate in an on-going discussion via LinkedIn.