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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

06 Jan '15

How many and what kinds of questions do you ask?

Posted by T.J. Addington
A mark of maturity is the transition from talking to people about ourselves or giving instructions to staff and moving to asking probing questions about others and their lives and work. Questions open dialogue and conversation, show we care about others and help others clarify issues by themselves. How many and what kinds of questions we ask determines the depth of our conversations with others.

Questions about people's personal lives opens up amazing dialogues. Tell me about your spiritual Journey? How did you end up doing what you do? What are you learning these days? What is you largest challenge? Tell me about your family? How can I be praying for you?

Questions with staff indicate an interest in them, their work and their observations or opinions. It also moves us from being the one who has the answers (we often do not) to a posture of learning and genuine interest in them and their work. I would suggest that the most helpful managers and leaders are the most inquisitive and they are also the most knowledgeable because they get information that others don't get. It also takes the focus off of us and puts it on others.

Try walking through a day asking as many questions as you can and then listening. You will be amazed at what you learn and how open people are. It works with strangers and friends, colleagues and staff. I know, I learned from the best over the years.

In terms of helping others think reflectively on their own lives, questions are especially powerful. The best questions cause others to think and reflect on issues that they may not have considered before. Thus it becomes a great tool in the personal or professional growth of others.