Are you fluent in the art of asking questions?

We all ask a lot of questions, but do we ask the right questions? In the right way? To the right person? At the right time? Who would have thought asking questions would be such an involved process, but it is. Particularly in government, where we deal with bosses, managers, supervisors, and colleagues in different environments, scenarios, and situations. It becomes even more tricky when you add the political environment to the equation.

I read this article on HBR (Harvard Business Review) “The Art of Asking Questions” by Ron Ashkenas and thought I would post this question: How well do you ask questions as a next generation of government employee?

Leave a Comment

3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Profile Photo Andrew Krzmarzick

Asking questions can be pretty pesky. Hard to ask them of yourself (as the HBR article suggests) and even more annoying when asking of an organization. So methinks it requires culture change – where everyone in an environment understands (and agrees!) that questions are not meant to cast doubt on someone’s project or competence, but are part of a process that leads to the best possible outcome.

Of course, there may be some instances where you can ask too many questions ;-)”

Reply
Profile Photo Richelle Koffman

We have a book here at MDT that we use in our management training called “Change your questions, change your life.” It has made an impact for those who have read the book and some managers have encouraged their employees to read this book. I’m working on trying to put together a “Book Club” that has an internal blog for people to discuss the book. It addresses the importance of asking the right questions and thinking “out-of-the-box.”

Reply
Profile Photo Andreas Addison

@Andy Thanks for that hilarious video. There are so many questions to ask and so little time it seems. But there is a point in which I feel that I have missed in many meetings and that is the power of the question you already know the answer to. The poignant personal rhetorical question you can ask in a meeting that creates the result you see as needed for a specific problem, project, or initiative. We often have looked at questions as being dumb or meddling, but the power of a well timed, well worded and appropriately structured question can have a great effect on creating results.

My favorite question to ask: Why? as in why do you do it that way, or why is that the process…

@Richelle I will definitely check out this book. Thanks for sharing!

Reply