Quality Questions Will Become Your Secret Superpower
The benefits of asking purposeful, well-constructed, quality questions cannot be overstated.
Documented benefits of asking better questions include:
Good questions help focus attention on what’s really important.
Better questions help foster and deepen relationships.
Better questions create confidence and instill a sense of calm.
By developing skills for asking better questions, we learn to question our own assumptions and develop a buffer against unconscious biases.
Quality questions improve team effectiveness, guarding against the dangers of “group think” and other decision traps.
Asking better questions creates an environment that enhances accountability, collaboration, and community.
Better questions reinforce shared values and beliefs.
Good questions create awareness of strategic options and alternatives.
Questions enhance creativity, innovation, and performance.
Asking and inviting quality questions improves morale, satisfaction, engagement, and retention in the workplace.
Frequently asking questions boosts “cognitive fitness,” leading to the ability to better handle challenges.
Better questions lead to better decisions and more impactful actions.
All that from asking higher quality questions!
Compared to other high-yield skills you could work on, learning to ask better questions is relatively easy. Frankly, the trade-off makes this a no-brainer choice. Why wouldn’t you invest a little time and discipline into building your question-asking skills in exchange for all the benefits listed above (and more, found throughout this book)?
If you’re like most, the answer to that question is a lack of awareness about the need to learn. Like breathing, you ask questions automatically. You may wonder why something that comes so naturally requires additional skills or discipline.
Think of it this way. Yes, you can breathe without thinking about it. But there are times when you need to modify your breathing. Some learn to manage anxiety with the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Some use inhalation/exhalation exercises for yoga, labor and delivery, running or swimming, meditating, or relaxing.
Being more mindful and deliberate with your breathing gives you certain results. Being more mindful and deliberate with your questions will also produce desirable outcomes. Those who spend time developing question-asking skills reap more of the benefits than those who solely rely on what comes naturally.
Information specialists concluded “Because successful questioning requires clear communication and common understanding throughout the process, it requires explicit planning, instruction, and evaluation.”
It’s worth it! If you put in the time and effort, quality questions will become your secret superpower. In addition to all we’ve already covered, consider all the possibilities within this single benefit reported in Harvard Business Review:
“Questions and answers have a power that goes far beyond matters of performance. The wellspring of all questions is wonder and curiosity and a capacity for delight. We pose and respond to queries in the belief that the magic of a conversation will produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Sustained personal engagement and motivation – in our lives as well as our work – require that we are always mindful of the transformative joy of asking and answering questions.”
I’m of the opinion that there is no tool for boosting personal effectiveness that can do as much as asking quality questions. When you build question-asking skills and companion skills, look out! You will unleash abilities and create opportunities you never imagined.
This is a snippet from the new book, DISCOVER Questions® for Connections, Clarity & Control, available on Amazon.