It’s good form to ask your employee questions in order to
- Get their buy-in
- Hear their ideas
- Build their confidence
- and teach them to solve their own problems
But how do you ask?
Consider a tennis coach who watches you swing and miss the ball. The coach asks;
- “Why didn’t you watch the ball?”
- “What were you thinking?”
- “What did you notice about the ball?”
What’s your response to those questions? The first might make you defensive, the second feels condescending but the third might make you think. “Hmm I wasn’t watching the ball, maybe that’s the problem?”
Next time you catch yourself asking “You don’t really think that solution will work, do you?” be aware that you’re calling them stupid. Re-phrase it and aim for a truly open-ended question.