Asking questions may sound like a two-way conversation, but why do you ask? Are you asking so you can better understand the other person’s point of view or are you looking for something wrong for you to fix? Clients are often surprised at our reports summarizing how certain finalists describe their leadership style. “But that candidate asks a lot of questions of their staff!” they say. Yes, they do… but why do they ask?

Asking a question doesn’t automatically make the conversation collaborative or mutual. If the purpose behind the question is to find information to correct or explain an expectation, it has become telling.

True questions come from a curious mind that is genuinely interested in understanding the other person. When they come from a positive mindset, these questions also become teachable moments that guide the person to diagnose an issue and discover the answer together.

Asking questions you plan to answer may feed your ego today but starve tomorrow of important learning. Once again, it’s not about you. It’s about the leaders you leave behind.

Life is a team sport. Are you using questions to create teachable moments or as an ego snack?

What works for you?