Shorts: Kevin Daley on asking the right questions

In the HBR blog, Kevin Daley from Communispond Inc. talks in a brilliant post called Overcome Resistance With the Right Questions about the importance of questions in managers everyday life:

The typical manager’s default response when somebody keeps saying no is to keep selling the idea. The manager trots out more evidence to support the idea and describes the payoffs for the other person. And the person keeps saying no.

There’s a better way.

Asking a series of easily answered questions will help the other person rethink his assumptions and open up possibilities for agreement.

While Dealy talks about a different definition for the word manager than the one I use, I think his advice is as sound for managers managing their employees. Let me take the paragraph above and try to restate it:

The typical manager’s default response when one of his employees keeps asking him questions is to keep giving him the solution. The manager knows so much about how to do things and has his own way of making things work that he is sure will work for his employee as well. And the person keeps coming back.

There’s a better way.

Asking a series of easily answered questions will help the other person rethink his assumptions and allow him to grow and find his own way of doing things.

Resist the temptation for giving answers. A manager’s responsibility is to help his employees overcome the resistance!

Elad

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