Do you ask your team a lot of questions?
As a former journalist, one traditional tool still comes in handy today for leaders. Applying the 5Ws and H (who, what, when, where, why and how) is the basic framework for information gathering.
Asking questions strengthens relationships. The act of asking not only creates an intelligence system for your organization but also implies interest. Leadership is about seeking to be interested, instead of attempting to be interested. Asking helps people feel seen.
A simple, yet powerful question like, “How can I help you?” gets you into a conversation.
The first step in cultivating a curious work environment is with oneself.
Being aware of your genuine interest in your team means stepping back and asking questions of yourself, starting with what kind of a leader am I?
Who on my team needs motivation?
When was the last time I spent one-on-one time with my team to help them improve their performance?
Why do I avoid giving constructive feedback?
Where do I spend most of my time at work?
How do I communicate with my individual team members?
There are many self-assessment questions that will help ‘uncover and discover’ your leadership strengths and areas in which you can improve. DiSC®assessments are another valuable tool to evaluate your leadership skills, which is done through a series of questions.
What’s the next step?
Once you’ve determined your effectiveness in the workplace, the next step is to leverage what you’ve learned to strengthen your relationships.
Based on a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, asking questions in the working environment boosts employee morale.
Curiosity is good for business:
- It drives social networks.
- It forces important decision-making.
- It creates conversational data.
The 5Ws and the H are the cornerstones of effective communication.
“If you don’t ask, how will you ever know?” my father would say.
Removed from school at a young age, during a time when school played second-fiddle to work, my father was a master at asking questions and became a scholar at reading people. Being forced out of school was hurtful for an intellectually curious person. He was always with a book in hand, eager for knowledge and built many friendships by asking questions.
One of his friends, famous writer and environmentalist, Farley Mowat, said my dad was one of the most highly intelligent uneducated men he knew. I believe this to be a result of his curious mind.
Curious people ask questions (the 5Ws and H), they listen without judgment, they are fully present, and they are willing to be wrong.
Now doesn’t that sound like all the characteristics of a great leader?