Asking … What Do You Think?
Updated: Aug 17
Leaders and managers …. Encourage your team members and direct reports to work through their own problems and RESIST giving them “the” answer.
Always, always ask them “What do you think?” — when they bring a question to you, when they offer up a problem they are dealing with, when they have a relationship issue they are trying to resolve.
Give them room to offer up their thoughts, their ideas first. Probe them on those ideas …. Ask great questions …. Challenge their thinking …. Paint the “big view” picture for them …. Share information YOU may know that might be helpful in their formulation of a solution …. Suggest other information sources …. Encourage them to tap the knowledge of other team members.
Make asking “What do you think?” a habit. You’ll be surprised at the resourcefulness of your people. They’ll surprise themselves. And …. They’ll LEARN and gain confidence in THEIR own decision making and problem-solving skills.
By the way, other derivatives of “What do you think?” include the following, among others (use questions like this to help draw the answers and solutions out of your team members):
How would YOU handle it?
What would be YOUR approach to resolving this problem?
What are all of the options available? What else?
What would YOU do?
How would YOU go about making the best decision on this?
What would YOU recommend? Why?
What information do we need, and who do we need to involve in helping to resolve this? Who else?
Give your team members the opportunity to decide …. to figure things out for themselves. Instead of simply sharing answers, you’ll be growing and empowering your people — which is a much more leveraged way of leading.
Be a catalyst for growth and avoid being “the answer source.” Better answers, better solutions will bubble up from your team members than you could ever come up with on your own.
Look for the very next opportunity TODAY to ask …. “What do you think?”
All the best to you!
Andy Robinson, Executive Coach