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Friday, June 12, 2009

Talk Less, Question More

This is the 2nd of several posts this week on Change Your Questions, Change Your Life by Marilee Adams, Ph.D. (Berrett-Koehler, 2009). A recommended read for any leader.

As leaders, most of us want to have the right answer when people ask us, especially our boss. So we study for briefings like they were final exams. And like many professors from the old school, the boss will often ask a question about an obscure footnote to see if they can catch you unprepared. This approach is not only unproductive but damaging to the person and the organization because it cuts of important other broader and more thought provocative questions.

1. Adam’s would argue that great leaders have great questions, not THE exact answer. Instead of being an answer man or woman, we need to be more critical thinkers asking the right questions.

2, Asking questions respects the knowledge of others and opens the questioner up to a dialog of thought, he or she might never have thought about.

3. Try this: In your next conversation instead of talking 80% of the time, talk 20% and listen 80%.

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