Creating an environment where people are willing to ask and answer questions leads to high morale and positive results. It is an environment where questions are valued and the answers of the team make a difference. Here’s how you can do that:
- Value each team member: When leaders ask questions and really listen, they show that they value others. Sam Walton said, “Asking and hearing people’s opinions has a greater effect on them than telling them, ‘Good job.’ “
- Value questions more than answers: I have heard it said, “It’s better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.” Questions lead to thinking and discussion. The process is often more valuable than the answer.
- Value the potential of your team: When I sit with the Conference Executive Council or in a staff meeting, the first thing I do is eliminate positional authority and divisions. I value contribution much more than title or tenure. Sometimes I have to ask them, by name to give their opinion! I tell my team, “I am depending on you to share your thoughts!”
- Value the improvement of a good idea: Great ideas are a result of several good ones put together. I like options! So, I want to get as many ideas as possible on the table. And, let everyone at the table know that the best idea will be the one we embrace. John Maxwell said it best, “When the best idea wins, so does the entire team!”
Author C. S. Lewis said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” You can do that by creating a positive environment for questions. Remember, if you ask questions you must really listen!