In a work environment, leaders are under constant pressure to have all the answers and many look up to the leader to tell them what to do, how to do etc. So over a period of time, leaders learn to give out answers before the questions come up. This soon becomes the bad habit. Sometimes leaders think they don’t have much time for asking questions and inviting responses. They just tell.
In my own experience, there have been several occasions when it seemed easier to tell than having to listen to what my team members had to say. It was extremely tempting to say that I had more experience and hence a better idea, and that they should just implement it instead of wasting time on what they were proposing. It took enormous patience to hold my opinion back and begin asking questions.
Why is this the best solution? What other solutions have you considered? How did you test it? Under what conditions is this solution going to fail? What happens if it fails? Many times, they’d see the holes in the solution much more clearly than if I had pointed it out to them. On many occasions, these sessions have been great learning opportunities for myself.
There are several rewards in investing time in these kinds of exercises.
Better solutions emerge.
Your team members feel a sense of pride in the work they do.
Your team members feel valued and respected, as their ideas and opinions have been heard.
Promotes engagement and productivity in the team.
Trust levels go up a notch or two.
They watch and learn to listen, and to ask questions