Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

The power of questions

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

As someone who has worked in a variety of verticals and business functions, I attribute some of my success to common sense. However, the adage that common sense is not that common is very true. Often, people look for complex solutions to problems to showcase their value-ad to the organization. How do you tell them gently and politely that there are other better ways to solve the issue?

You can be direct and to the point. If your coworkers share similar style and are open minded, this works well. However, lets come to the real world. Yes, the real world, where you have coworkers who have their ego and emotions attached to their ideas. The real world where they can just bulldoze you to make their point or brand you in the wrong way. This often leads to friction and frustration.

Even if you get your solution implemented, you may win the battle but lose the war. When you work in a team with peers, it is imperative to have a conducive environment. Also, you ‘want’ to team to work with you instead of ‘have’ to work with you. By asking the right questions, you spark the team to develop better solutions. You can influence the team and guide them in the right direction.

One tactic that works really well for me is to ask clarifying questions instead of just offering solutions. Show them that you understand their solution, you are curious about how it will play out in different scenarios, and how their solution will help in such situations. As they try to answer these questions, they will uncover the folly of their idea and become more open to brainstorming a better solution. This makes people more comfortable around you instead of being threatened by you.

As a bonus, here is a video I came across about asking questions: