Lead With Questions, Not Answers

May 10, 2024

One thing I learned running teams is that leading with questions is more effective than leading with answers.

Whenever an opinion or decision is brought up and it's different from how you see the world, the first impulse tends to be to make statements of why it should be different and how you think about the world. The highest intent is to make the best decision. But there is often an unconscious motivation to prove the other person wrong and show how right you are. And even if this ends up being the case, leading with statements and making other's ideas small results in a lot of frustration for the people you work with.

Luckily there is a better way. Instead of making statements on what the better way is, you can lead with questions. Trying to understand the other person. In most cases, it turns out that both of you are talking about different things, or there is one simple assumption that is wrong in the thinking of someone. And this way, it's more genuine towards the other person. They feel heard, and you work together on making better decisions instead of against each other. Also, this teaches the people you work with a better way of thinking allowing them to grow.

When working with teams, or other people in general, lead with questions, not answers.