Why do people ask questions at work? Is it because they weren’t paying attention? Might they be new to a job or process? Could they be curious? Is it possible they are seeking to understand before offering an idea?
Think about the last five questions people at work have asked you:
Did it matter who was asking the question, when or how the question was asked? Did you respond differently according to the who, when, or how?
Now, think about the last five questions YOU asked others at work.
What was your reason for asking those questions? Were the responses given in a way you were expecting?
Being asked questions is a daily part of the work environment; it’s important to consider the impact of how we hear, react, and respond to questions asked of us during our busy day.
Tips for Receiving Questions at Work
- Assume positive intent
- Assure the questioner that it is “ok” to ask questions and that you appreciate them asking
- Use appreciative inquiry; seek to understand the why behind the question
- Consider the impact if the question had not been asked
- Ask for time to consider the person’s question and get back to him/her; it’s okay not to have an answer right away
Your response to questions has the power to encourage – and discourage – others from asking questions and perhaps seeking your input in the future. Are you seeing the gift in the questions being asked of you?