The Single Best Questioning Technique Most Leaders Skip

Do you ask your team members for their input, but get frustrated when they don’t respond? It might be the way you’re asking!

It’s not always easy for them to offer advice – even if you ask nicely. They might be reluctant to criticise, inexperienced in making succinct suggestions, or worried about overstepping their authority.

traffic-lights-514932_1920Rather than just a general open-ended question, ask these three “Traffic Lights” questions instead:

  1. What could we stop doing?
  2. What could we start doing?
  3. What should we keep doing?

These questions give them a clear framework for their answers and permission to be direct. By asking what you could do, you let them share ideas without being critical. And by using the word “we”, you make it inclusive rather than personal.

Then act on it!

Don’t just ask for their advice; be willing to act on it. In fact, adopt the attitude that you will act on their advice unless there are really strong reasons against it. Even if it means extra time, effort, or money, do it anyway. After all, you’re not always the best judge of the outcome, and you might be surprised at the results.

More importantly, though, acting on the advice shows them you value and appreciate it, which will encourage them to speak up more often in the future.

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