Looking to build the business you need to lead the life you want? Then build a team that doesn’t depend on you to be there all of the time to tell them what to do!
What’s the problem with providing the answers?
It may seem the most efficient thing to do and there may be short term time savings, but short term gains may be overshadowed by long term costs and a never ending drain on your time.
Development of colleagues and team members may be impeded as they won’t have to do any thinking, and with you providing the answers all of the time it means you can never have time away from the business or you are subject to regular interruptions.
So what changes do you need to make?
When faced with a team member coming to you with a problem, control your first reaction to offer the solution. This takes time because you may have to change a habit of a lifetime. Instead respond by asking the right questions. The right questions can help people find the best solutions themselves and gain self-confidence and improve their decision making skills, reducing reliance on you.
So what are the right questions?
Asking the right questions is a skill that you develop through practice, avoiding the unconscious slide back to giving the solution. The goal of questioning is for people to find the answer that works best for them.
The right question depends on what you want to accomplish. The quality of the question will define the quality of the answer that you get. Choose questions that inspire people to act in new ways to expand their range of vision and enable them to contribute more.
You can of course have questions to steer the answer toward what you want to achieve i.e. your answer, but the best questions are open ended, beginning with why, how or what. Discovering answers develops responsibility and may even lead to a better answer than you had in mind.
What sort of questions should you avoid?
Avoid negative, judgemental and blaming questions as this will provoke negative and inhibited responses that will lead to reduced self-confidence and discourages honesty.
Questions that focus on why a person did not and cannot succeed force a defensive position and removes power from them.
My own experience
I know this works, thinking of the right question to ask comes with practice and I still have to remember sometimes to stop sliding back into answer mode and avoid being judgemental.
If you want to build your business then you need your team members to grow and using questions instead of being the answer person is a great way to do it.