This is a question or sentence worded to solicit information.
In most situations in life, your direct observation will be absent and asking intelligent questions is the best way to gain deeper understanding. You approach every situation by first seeking to know and understand. Remember when you were a child and always asking your parents why, and but why and but why? Yes this seems to lose its place as we grow because we convince ourselves that we now know a lot of things and understand people and situations and we quickly fall in the trap of assuming. And you know what they say about assuming right? When you ass-u-me, you make an……
So remember, as a good leader, it is important to always GET THE FACTS and asking questions, lots of them will get you there.
Asking questions is a sign of strength and intelligence – not a sign of weakness or uncertainty so never be afraid to.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity… Never lose a holy curiosity.” — Albert Einstein
“We run this company on questions, not answers.” said Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google.
The great leaders know that as you keep asking questions, you will find better answers!
It is this quality that helps leaders build a rational, positive and exciting attitude towards any problems that come their way.
Paul Sloane the author of The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills and The Innovative Leader wrote a good excerpt on this which I copied below:
Columbo solves his mysteries by asking many questions; as do all the great detectives – in real life as well as fiction. All the great inventors and scientists asked questions. Isaac Newton asked, “Why does an apple fall from a tree?” and, “Why does the moon not fall into the Earth?” Charles Darwin asked, “Why do the Galapagos islands have so many species not found elsewhere?” Albert Einstein asked, “What would the universe look like if I rode through it on a beam of light?” By asking these kinds of fundamental questions they were able to start the process that lead to their tremendous breakthroughs.
The great philosophers spend their whole lives asking deep questions about the meaning of life, morality, truth and so on. We do not have to be quite so contemplative but we should nonetheless ask the deep questions about the situations we face. It is the best way to get the information we need to make informed decisions or come to intelligent conclusions.
Questions can be open ended – when you have the need to gain an appreciation of the situation and any context and opinions around it or they can be closed ended – when you need specific information to move to some conclusions.
Remember to always practice active listening as you take in the responses from the other person and not fall into the temptation of being hijacked by your opinions into a premature conclusion or resolution. Rather reflect and ask further questions to deepen your understanding of the issues prior to coming to a conclusion.
“Intelligent questions stimulate, provoke, inform and inspire. Questions help us to teach as well as to learn” – Paul Sloan
“Be curious, not judgmental” – Walt Whitman
“Stay hungry, stay foolish” – Steve Jobs
As a leader, you are always open to learning new things, seeking new ideas, open to new perspectives.
Are you afraid to ask questions?
What doubts do you have today about a situation that your inquisitiveness can help?
How can I maintain an inquisitive mindset?