The Importance of Asking Questions as a Professional
For business owners, there are unfortunate mental and societal pressures that accompany asking questions in the workplace. There’s a deep-seated fear that your team will label you a fraud if you question your own business’s internal affairs. This reluctance to ask questions can put unnecessary strain on you and your business. It’s important to overcome these fears, as it’s not out of stupidity that leads one to ask questions, but intelligence – intelligence to know that your performance relies on understanding all aspects of your role. Asking questions as a professional sets leaders apart.
Why Is Asking Questions Critical to Attain Effective Leadership?
You can’t expect your team to appropriately perform their duties without all the puzzle pieces, and you shouldn’t expect the same of yourself. Asking questions as a professional doesn’t only clarify your role, but it also exhibits desirable leadership qualities:
- A Willingness to Learn: Being receptive to new information and ideas is a valuable characteristic in a leader. Office hierarchy shouldn’t get in the way of education.
- Desire to Engage: Asking questions and earnestly listening to the response shows that you value your team’s thoughts, which can bring to light some truly valuable insights.
- Persistent Inquisitiveness: Curiosity breeds creativity, and understanding how others think, work, and behave opens the door to inventive ideas and solutions.
When your questions are met with good answers, it adds dimensions to your thought process, allowing you to come up with innovative pivoting plans during a crisis, portray authenticity, or determine ways to support your team during trying times.
How Asking Questions Leads to Business Success
We discussed how questions can spark innovative solutions, but they also uncover where the challenges and unresolved issues lie. If your role is located behind the scenes, you often won’t be aware of the problems experienced by your customers or team without being proactive. It’s easy to rely on your normal thinking patterns and approach a challenge from just your point of view. By seeking understanding from your team members, you can approach an issue from several angles to find a solution that works universally. And sometimes, these questions can even lead to positive responses.
Why Asking the Right Question is Important
In business, listening and communication are key. Therefore, it’s important you phrase questions in a way that elicit comprehensive responses. In particular, you want to ensure your questions are:
You want to avoid being too direct. It will lead to hard and fast answers. You want to grant the recipient the opportunity to ponder and reflect upon the issue. Instead, of asking, “Are you interested in this product?” thereby limiting the answer to yes or no, ask “What about this product interests you?” Ask questions that can be answered without bounds, clearing the way for unrestricted details.
The purpose of a question is to clarify a situation. Don’t give up on a question if the first answer is unsatisfactory. Delve deeper to achieve full understanding. For instance, if the answer to “Why was the customer upset?” leaves a few holes unfilled, follow up with a question like, “Could anything have been done to rectify their poor experience?”
Devoid of Traps
You don’t want your question to put the recipient on the defense. Instead of being accusatory, phrase the question to allow the opportunity for ample explanation. Rather than asking a team member, “Can you finish this by 2 o’clock?” ask “What would it take for you to complete this task?” or “How long do you see this taking you?”
Not only is asking the right question important but asking a question in a non-judgmental and open-minded way will earn you honest answers without fear of repercussions. This applies to team members, customers, partners, and even your competition.
Dissolving the stigma of asking questions as a professional is crucial when it comes to problem-solving. When you listen as a leader, you can apply the combined input of your team and customers to shape your product or solution. Here at Vision Advertising, our company is driven by questions. We want to ensure our team and clients are having their goals met and that nothing is left unsaid. The more detailed the responses, the better we can perform our role. Reach out to us if your interested in discovering how questions can lead to success in business or for any other marketing-related inquiries.