Telling or Asking Questions?

Asking and Telling

Performance Focused Organisations know that the best way to achieve their goals is to engage their staff in their journey of growth and success. That engaging the hearts and minds of their staff means that they are half way towards those goals. That working with the personal “drivers” of staff can build loyalty, passion and strong engagement.

Consider the balance between control (telling) and leading (asking) when setting direction and allocating work.

Power and Control
Telling means retaining total control of the journey towards the outcome required. It means that you are responsible for determining how the work with be scheduled, allocated and performed.You are responsible for every decision along the way.

Power without Control
Relinquishing total control means that you retain accountability for the outcome but you allow your staff to determine, or at least have input into, the way in with the outcome is achieved. You can do this through asking the right questions, through asking very powerful questions.

Choose the Approach
Of course there are times that Telling approaches are appropriate – new staff, inexperienced staff, new types of projects. However at other times Telling builds dependence and low engagement. It fosters a culture where independent decision making is low and where staff knock on your door continually to ask for advice on trivial decisions. Dependence is high. You cannot have it both ways – a Telling approach negates high levels of individual dependence in your staff as they execute according to your directions.

An approach that maintains a focus on the outcome and allows staff to participate in the “how” is empowering and allow staff to demonstrate their strengths. Your role is to guide their thinking through Powerful Questions that prompt reflection and higher levels of thinking.

Powerful Answers or Powerful Questions
At times you will need to Tell, but keep in mind that there are few powerful answers that build engagement, strength, ability and excellence, but there are many Powerful Questions that do just that.

Some thoughts for you:

  • What is your style – Telling or Asking?
  • Is that style appropriate for the skill and experience level of your Team?
  • What is it that you need to put in place to build engagement and passion for the outcomes that you need to achieve?

Can we help?

If you would like us to help you understand Powerful Questions approaches, give us a call.

Indra Process and Performance Consulting
www.indraconsulting.com

All articles that appear on Indra Process and Performance Consulting’s blog are copyright  Indra Process and Performance Consulting 2008.

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