In this episode, we discuss five questions that we use at Leadership Vision to frame constructive conversations and build awareness and relational rapport. These five questions for team building have been really effective, and in this episode, we share a little bit about what they are and why they have become so effective for us. We hope that you can take these questions with you and share them with your team!
Team Building with Questions
For the past several months, we have really started to take a disciplined approach to asking very specific questions when we’re engaging our clients or whether we’re working in a coaching environment. We have found that there are five questions that we keep returning to over and over again, not just because they’re effective, but because the people that we’re working with know that these questions are coming and they know that they’re the same ones over and over again.
When we really ask ourselves why these questions are working, there are three things that kind of pop up:
- We’re intentionally trying to deepen the relationship through questions.
- We’re also trying to build trust. Whether we’re facilitating someone, helping someone build something or coaching them, that trust needs to be built. By returning to the same questions we build trust.
- We really want to engage our people with purpose. To ask these five questions, we’re getting close by asking questions about family and we’re also getting pretty broad by asking about their observations of organizations.
One of the things that we’re learning is what to do with the answers that we are hearing when we ask the five questions. Sometimes the answers that people share with us allow us to follow rabbit trails and to unearth what is really important to the people that we are connecting with.
Five Questions for Team Building
No matter what it is that we’re doing, whether we’re consulting, coaching, or building teams, we have to be very intentional on keeping the attention on the individual and focusing on where they’re at and where they’re coming from and not letting our content, curriculum, or our process guide us all the time. We have to start from an anchoring position.
We always use questions, but our idea for these five questions was to make them specific and repetitious. We know that people like specificity, they like repetition, and they like to know what’s coming. We’re finding that these questions work and we know that by sharing them, people can also use them to build relationships, too.
1. How are you?
The first question, ‘How are you?’ starts to frame the conversation about the other person. It gets people in their body and beginning to think about connecting their mind and their behaviors. This question functions in much of the same way as asking someone to step back and pay attention to what they are aware of, but maybe not connecting that to how they are feeling right now.
The reason we ask this question is to demonstrate that we really care. When we’re asking the question, how are you, what do we do with the answers? We start to see patterns. We start to try to hone in on what is really going on. If you do this with consistency, you can see someone increasing or bettering their overall wellbeing. And you can also see the opposite when you can notice someone that’s maybe cycling downward.
2. What are you noticing?
This question is intentional to help people move from the, ‘how are you?’ question to zooming back out, into actually looking around metaphorically. What are you noticing within the organization? What are you noticing within the environment? Zoom back. What are you noticing? One of the things we are paying attention to is when people do zoom out, at what altitude did they stop?
3. Who are you observing?
People often mistake an organization with a person. We wanted to separate those two specifically and ask people to pay attention to the whom, who are they noticing? It could be someone that’s on their team that they’re growing with, that they’re investing in. It could be someone that’s making decisions that are affecting them. You can learn a lot about the quality of relationships, relational trust, stability, or instability in the interpersonal side of an organization by asking the who question and separating that from the organizational question.
Leadership is an improvisational dance from the balcony to the dance floor. Question two, what are you noticing, is a balcony zoomed out kind of question. And question three, who are you observing, is zoomed in on the dance floor. Who are you partnering with? Who are you swinging around? Who are you observing that also tends to reveal some more of the emotional pressure points?
4. What are you learning?
What we’re doing with this question, ‘what are you learning?’ is focusing on the individual. It could be what they are learning about themselves, what they are learning about their team or their organization. It can be something practical and tactical. It could be a new application or some new way that they’re onboarding someone. What we want to point to is that the learning style of someone can help inform us on how they’re they’re doing.
5. What concerns you?
Sometimes people want to start with this question, ‘what concerns you?’, but this question is last for a reason. We want someone to be able to talk about a lot of things before they get to what concerns them. We have found that the concern that someone comes to the meeting with or comes to the coaching session with is really not the concern. Instead, the true concern is embedded somewhere else, and that other concern is just a distraction.
What we really are trying to get at is something strategic. We want to help the people that we’re working with separate what’s a distraction and what’s really a concern.
The Five Questions and Your Team
Try using the five questions with your team and let us know how it goes! The more consistent you are with asking these five questions, the more your team will flow with what you’re doing. People will be almost excited to get to the next question because they know what you’re going to ask. When you’re asking specific questions that you actually want to know the answers to, you can build trust and deepen relationships.
If you have questions about this episode or want to learn more about how to strengthen your team, connect with us at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!
About The Leadership Vision Podcast
The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of a strengths-based approach to people, teams, and culture. We believe that knowing your Strengths is only the beginning. Our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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