Whether you’re a great manager or a lousy one, there’s always room for improvement. One easy way to become a much better leader: ask “powerful questions.”
In a recent Entrepreneur article, Gary Magenta, senior vice president of Root Inc. and author of “The Un-Bossy Boss: 12 Powerful Questions to Make You a Great Manager,” says that the very best managers never tell their employees what to do. Instead, they “unleash the potential of individual employees” by asking questions that are intended to encourage employees to come to their own conclusions about how to have a more positive impact on the company and how to cultivate their own success.
Magenta says “powerful questions” should show that you’re genuinely interested in the employee. They are typically open-ended queries that elicit thoughtful responses; they’re provocative, respectful, and non-judgmental. Ultimately, they should uncover what’s on your employee’s mind, help your employee separate facts from opinions or judgments, and inspire the employee to consider how attitude can affect his or her performance, among other things, he says.
Examples of effective “powerful questions” include: “What is most important for you to talk about?” “What’s really happening, and what are the judgments you added to your story?” and “What actions will your current thinking likely inspire?”
But Magenta says the best one of all is, “What else?”
“[It gives employees] an opportunity to truly reflect and bring additional thoughts to the surface,” he says.
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