Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to influence others without telling them what to do or how to do it

Few people like to be told what to do or how they should do it. Leaders often inadvertently discourage their staff by being overly directive. While there are times when a hard or directive conversation must take place it should be a rare thing if one has good staff. The question is, how do we address issues without needing to be overly directive?

The answer is often a simple one. It is to engage them in dialogue and ask questions rather than to make statements. In fact, it is in the dialogue that questions engender that better solutions come about than even we might think should happen. I work very hard to not give direction through telling people what to do but to ask questions that help them come to appropriate solutions. It is not only better received but generally is a more honoring way to communicate.

Asking questions gives us an opportunity to think about how we approach sensitive issues so that those we are interacting with will hear us, lower their defenses and create an environment where we can get at these sensitive issues that need to be addressed. Since every individual is wired differently how we address these issues means that we need to think carefully about our approach.

Asking good questions that cause people to reflect also teaches those we are interacting with to do the same with their staff. Soon you have a culture that is more life giving and people who think more deeply. In fact, when we have to think about the right question to ask on a certain issue we are engaging in much deeper thinking than if we do not.


The bottom line is that asking good questions is almost always more helpful than simply making statements – although there are times when we should address behaviors or decisions head on. Generally, though, questions create dialogue and dialogue gives us an opportunity to come to good solutions and to influence others. 


Posted from Havana Cuba


All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence,  are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.

1 comment:

Alejandro said...

thank you for the post. I have a question: how can I made good question? I mean. What center point do you look for, where you could begin to create a good question?