How Important Good Questions Are by Trinity Employment, a Tulsa Staffing Company
Hi, my name is Cory Minter. I’m a Trinity Employment Specialist. We’re a staffing company here in the Tulsa area. I have a certain topic that I’d like to talk to you about and that is ‘How Important Good Questions are for Managers’.
Let me tell you a quick little story. I was invited to go to an event not long ago that honored a hall of fame coach for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Eddie Sutton. One by one they had all of the players there. The talent that we had NBA players there … The guy that was sitting to my right was an NBA legend. He’d won the NBA Dunk Contest. It was really neat place to be at and you had just so much talent. This guy had coached and been an icon for years and he was inducted in the hall of fame. It was really neat to be around that group of people but here’s one thing that they did.
They brought up each some of the most significant players who wanted to talk about their experience with Coach Sutton. Here was one of things that they all had mentioned, it was a common denominator, they all talked about this. They talked about the importance that it was on their life. There some great lessons that we can learn as managers about one of the things that they were talking about. Really great and this is what it was.
Players would go up one by one and talk about how Eddie Sutton would correct them when they did something really really stupid. They made fun of it and it a really fun moment. They said the thing that bothered them the most and the thing that just got under their skin was he never ever went and just told them what to do and that was what bothered them. Well, of course you want a hall of fame coach telling you what to do. What they did rather than doing that is they asked … He asked them good questions.
Let me give you an example … I’m going to try to give some examples of how they used. He would ask, “Why did you go there? Why did you move there? Why did you do that? Wouldn’t it have been better if you’d done that? What did we teach you? What did we teach you to do? Where did we tech you to go? How do you understand the system to work?”
They said after he got done with those questions … He said it wasn’t belittling in a sarcastic way but after he got done with those questions what he realized was is they just felt stupid for doing what they’d done and it made them think about the why. As managers I thought that this would be something that’d be great for us to explore. Is how good of questions are you asking your staff and are you telling or you’re asking questions so that they understand the why? Let’s talk about that just really quickly and see if we can come up with some things that will help us to become better managers.
The first thing that this does that can help any manager and it’s something that I learned from a Dale Carnegie class. It’s in his book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ and that is to get the idea to be the other person’s. Get them to think that it’s their idea. How do you do that? Is you ask good questions. When you ask good questions it’s going to get them to think about it and then hopefully propose that rather than doing it their way they consider doing it this way. It’s their idea and it’s because of the questions you asked. When you can get what you want out of somebody by making it their idea, they’re going to be much more bought in to correcting the issue that you’re needing to be corrected.
Rather than them going back to the desk going, “[Inaudible 00:04:16] my manager’s making me do this.” Instead of thinking that way they’re thinking, “Hey, listen. I came up with this great idea that I think that we can implement and it’ll make things better.” Rather than telling if you ask the right specific questions sometimes you can get your employees to come up with your solutions but they think it’s their idea and they get 100% more bought in than they normally would.
The next thing is to be genuinely interested in the person and genuinely interested in really helping them. To be genuinely concerned to be able to make them better. The thing is is when you are trying to deal with someone who’s not doing what you’re wanting them to do it’s easy to just become frustrated and some way take that out on them. You can show it to them by restraining yourself and being patient and giving them the … The way that you behave to show them that you are concerned, you’re wanting to help them, it’s going to change the ball game for them.
When you ask them questions it’s going to make them really start to think rather than to try to just cover their tail. If they know that you’re frustrated with them their immediate response is going to be to try to come up with excuses or make sure that they look good in your eyes rather than trying to come up with a solution. Your questions and your demeanor need to present the environment that is more solution based rather than cover your tail based because my manager’s upset with me but as a manager that’s your responsibility.
In conclusion, Harvard Business Review just wrote an article that I thought was really great. It says, “The questions that good coaches ask.” What it goes over is exactly what we just talked about. This is not something that is just coming up from an old coach in basketball but it’s also something that’s been studied at Harvard Business School. Couple of things just to remember in conclusion is that it’s very important for people to learn on their own rather than just being told. Very important for them to get that.
The second thing is, is that some of the best managers learn this lesson and they imply it and when they do that the results follow. They’ll have a company full of leaders that are totally bought in because it’s their idea and they’re not feeling they’re implementing someone else’s idea. Get somebody to think that it’s theirs and they’ll own it all day long and as a manager you’ll win. Good luck.