Episode 104: The Lost Art of Asking Good Questions

The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast

Published: March 7, 2023


Regardless of who you are in an organization — a great question can help you learn more about your task, unlock hidden opportunities, deliver better results, and mitigate unforeseen risks. In general, most of us don’t ask enough questions because we fail to recognize the enormous benefits in terms of interpersonal bonding and how questions are the gateway to our learning information. In this episode, we are talking about one commonly underdeveloped skill for most managers, and that is the ability to ask good questions.

Register for Zenger Folkman’s upcoming webinar, ARE YOU REALLY LISTENING? A Guide to Tuning In and Asking The Right Questions.

Key Points

  • Leadership occurs through the communication process, and the most important part of communication is not the “half-time locker room speech.” It is the daily one-on-one interaction with colleagues.
  • The most valued questions are those that follow-up a comment the other person makes and confirms our genuine interest in learning more about what they had said. Nothing says “I care” more than the follow-up question that enables you to dig deeper and more broadly into a subject.

  • The key to asking good questions is to focus on what’s really important.  It moves the discussion to the “heart of the matter,” sometimes to the “elephant in the room,” or to “what’s the REAL question.”
  • Good questions virtually never call for a “yes” or “no” answer.  They are expansive and open-ended.
  • A part of asking good questions is creating a foundation that can only come from confirming your mutual understanding of an issue.
  • Part of asking good questions requires what some have described as the “gift exchange”—it is my sharing my ideas and reactions.

Connect with Jack Zenger


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The Power of Listening and Asking Questions- Article by Jack Zenger