Are you a talker or a question asker?

If you really want to understand other people, you need to ask questions. For some, like John Maxwell, this is hard. John classifies himself as a talker, and writes in his book, The Leader’s Greatest Return, that asking questions was difficult for him. But, as John asked more questions, he made an important discovery. Asking questions has the opposite effect of giving direction. When you give direction to your team, you often confine them. When you ask questions, you create discovery room for them—room for articulation, communication, innovation, and problem-solving.

Here’s what questions do:

  • Create space for open conversation 
  • Place value on others and their opinions 
  • Help people know one another better 
  • Invite everyone to participate 
  • Clear up assumptions 
  • Cause people to think 
  • Guide the conversation 

Asking questions helps leaders build relationships. When John started asking questions, he did it to gain information. But in the process, he learned that when he asked questions, he got to know people better. Because he understood them better, he was able to lead them better. That realization made him even more intentional in the questions he asked and how he asked them.

Are you a talker or a question-asker?

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