If I was to give a medal to a simple tool that could give you huge effects this is the one.
Now some years back my brother lent me this small book authored by John Miller called QBQ: The Question Behind the Question. In this book, John Miller points out that great leaders are forward-looking and not backward-looking.
He then provides this amazing little tip, or tool if you will- for you to go on and practice in your own leadership right now – and it’s really really simple and it goes like this:
Never pose when, why, or who questions.
Instead, replace these questions with questions that involve two things they must either involve how or what and they must also include the word ‘I’.
So in other words, if you face some sort of challenge that for example, an order has not come on time or something – then you would not pose the question: who’s responsible for this order not being on time or when is it gonna come or why has this not been implemented as we expected and as agreed upon, and so forth.
Now, if you replace that sort of backward-looking blame game or guilt question with a forward-looking question instead that involves either how or what and the word I, then it would sound something like this:
What can I do to help that we’ll get these products as soon as possible?
Or somebody’s coming with a feeling of not being validated or respected in the team and so forth. So instead of saying oh I mean come on, when did you start feeling that or how come you feel this – then you would replace that and say:
What can I do to make sure that you will never feel this way again?
So not only have you made sure that this person is not left alone frustrated about the situation with her team and on top of this there’s a leader that doesn’t understand her or him. The person is now feeling recognized, she’s feeling seen, and she’s experiencing that her leader (or his leader) is having a deep intention of actually bettering the situation, so she will not experience this again.
It’s a simple tool, it’s extremely effective. I’ve shared it with people and have gotten great responses back about it, so I invite you to try it as well. Let me know by if you choose to try it out – I would love to hear the results.