Easy: Ask your team “closed” questions. Closed questions can be answered with a yes or a no (or a grunt), don’t provide much insight, and often lead the questionee in a certain direction. “We are going to have that report done by Friday, right?” Oh yes ma’am!
Hard: Ask your team “open” questions. Open questions are those you don’t already know the answer to, usually provide the most insight, and could go in a number of directions. “What do you think were the big takeaways from that client meeting?” [Uh oh, now I have to think…]
Coming up with the questions is not the differentiator between “easy” and “hard.” The hard part is that the answers to open questions require you to listen, not just check off the mental yes or no box. The hard part is that you might have to change your mind based on the what you are hearing. The hard part is embracing the unknown answers to open questions day after day.
The hard part… Using questions for their intended purpose instead of using them as an indirect way to communicate what you really want.
Less directing, more conversat-ing.