The ability to ask the right questions is perhaps the most useful skill you can use to inspire and empower employees.

There are questions that encourage employees to be critical thinkers, while there are others that demoralize.  Questions that empower and encourage critical thinking include “Can you explain more about this situation?” or “Based on your experience, what do you suggest we do here?”.

There are also questions that don’t inspire and only focus on the negative, such as “Don’t you agree that John is the problem here?” or “Everyone else on the team thinks John is the problem. What about you?”  Another type of ineffective question is the type that focuses on blame such as “Why are you behind schedule?” or “Don’t you know any better than that?”

To get more insight on the type of questions to ask and not to ask, Bonnard Reynald has created a great mindmap called “How To Ask Better Questions”.

You can download the map at

Here is a screenshot of the mindmap (click mindmap (or tap if using an iPad) to enlarge):

Ask Better Questions

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