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Insight One: Moving from Judgement to Inquiry

finger judgement to curiosityGreat leaders ask questions, and lots of them. Questions help leaders to skillfully discern between the good ideas and the great ones, and also help to identify possible pitfalls before they happen. It’s important, though, to distinguish between questions that build trust, and those that break it.

Problems can occur when leaders communicate their questions in a critical or cynical way. “What were you thinking?” for instance can be articulated in two different ways: in a judgmental tone, or in an inquiring tone.

Moving from judgement (taking an irritated, judgmental tone) to inquiry (taking an inquiring, genuinely curious tone), allows us to ask the most important questions of our businesses or people, while maintaining an expansive, generous mindset. It is by asking questions in this way that we’re more likely to engage others in a collaborative hunt for data and solutions.

What might it mean for you?

As you come across potential frustrating situations that merit questioning, take a moment and reflect on the nature of your intention. You can ask “what were you thinking”, if that is the right question, but allow it to come from a place of true inquiry and curiosity. We bet you will find your conversation builds trust with others if you do so!


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