Next time an employee asks you to repeat a question, count the number of words you originally used in asking the question. Chances are, it was more than ten. What’s the issue? Our brains process questions of less than ten words much more effectively.
Each time we make a lengthy inquiry, the listener spends more time focusing on the question and less on his answer. Even if he doesn’t ask you to repeat the question, which often happens, he is still too focused on your question.
Questions using ten words or less are understood more quickly and answered more thoroughly. This generates lots of details, a richer conversation, and automatic buy-in as the employee always believes everything he says. As a result, he becomes more self-sufficient, solving more of his own problems while also benefiting and learning from your positive example. In addition, we become known as someone whose occasional comments are valuable and not to be missed or ignored.
Our mantra in leadership should always be:
Say little, ask a lot.
This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Make say little, ask a lot your way of being a great leader.
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