Consulting a team of managers in the Understanding organizational complexity and change process, one of them asked me what types of questions I may ask a team or person to understand better how to support their progress in change and complexity. I smiled, and we worked out a series of questions. Many of them are … Continued
Asking why will reinforce your power as a manager. However, it will not make your work any easier. Slowing down to ask a series of ‘where’ questions will enhance the team’s output, and add value to the team’s decision-making and problem-solving. All of which makes you a better leader and the team a learning team.
Presentation slides from a team building session I facilitated with six nonprofit leadership teams. The objectives were to develop a team-based process to maintain the gains in infrastructure and team development, plus value propositions using data.
Asking why will get the problem solved faster, in the short term. However, the problem and similar problems will come back to you, because you solved them. Asking ‘when’ will create progress with the team member and you; leading to learning.
Organization development and executive coaching works best as a client-centered approach. Working together, respecting each party is knowledgeable about the goals, resources, progress-steps, and what works to make progress towards the goal.
Your best project manager comes to you to help with personality clashes. They share how strong personalities are getting in the way of work, and asks for your advice on how to fix this dysfunctional team. Rather than asking why – which will move the work onto your plate – ask a series of ‘how’ coaching questions.
Asking why may create a belief that the problem will be solved faster, and it may. It will be resolved faster because you are taking the accountability and authority away from the person who came to you for support. Asking a series of ‘what’ will help the progress of the person, team and you.
Recently someone told me that my role as a consultant is to motivate them to change. That by sharing research data, internal project completion data, and how the structure of their current organization is causing dysfunction they now feel demotivated.
The ‘5 Whys’ can be useful. Identifying the possible root cause can get things started…the next logical step to create a solutions bank.
I have found that it is easier and people on the team move with greater enthusiasm and collaboration when you ‘Start With What’ and determine the solution in the first step.
The team shared with me that those three simple questions have made the most impact on their team meetings.