Hi M&M

[b]BLUF: Will there be a podcast related to asking good questions? [/b]
One of the key skills for leaders is making decisions. To make good decisions you have to have the correct information to base it on. And a valuable sources of information is questions both asked to directs, peers and to the boss. Different rules apply in different settings, but I wouldn't question the value.

And the insight you generally bring to the table is awesome!

This might be a topic partially covered in different podcasts

Love the show!

AManagerTool's picture

Maybe its a personal thing but are there really any "bad" questions? I think what you are looking for is a way to ask questions that is more effective. You are so right in that it's different asking a peer, boss, vendor etc. This would be a good topic.

I usually just blurt out the question and it seems to be alright as long as I keep the spirit of the question in mind. That is, I don't format it as an attack or use it to make anyone look bad. I need information or want to illuminate something to the person being asked. Genuine curiosity or desire to help is the spirit in which questions should be asked.

I work with scientists and have attended their seminars frequently. You can always spot the questioners that have an axe to grind and use their questions as a weapon in some parody of the Socratic method. Then you see others that ask questions in a way that helps the person being asked. The ones with the axe to grind end up alienating me and others. The ones that want to help, endear the audience and actually help.

Good topic...

HMac's picture

I tend to agree with Tool that there really are no bad questions. Plus, it's hard to think of a series of questions you could give anyone that really apply to all situations.

That said, here's a book recommendation: [i][b]"Questions that Work"[/b][/i] by Andrew Finlayson. It's been around for a while (I see I bought my copy in '01).


jhack's picture

It's a matter of more or less effective questions. And effectiveness is a function of context and goals. Solving a customer problem is different from constructing a strategy (see SWOT: )

The "Five Why's" technique is useful. See


PS: There [i]are[/i] bad questions, usually due to lack of attentiveness or sincerity.

bflynn's picture

Yes, there are bad questions.

What context are you asking about? When are you talking about asking questions, during an interview (I think its done), during a meeting, about processes.

In my experience, the content of the question is less important than how, when, to whom and why the question is asked.