Often, when we take time to reflect, we ask ourselves passive questions rather than active questions i.e. what has been done to change us, not what we have done to change ourselves. “Do you have clear goals?” is an example of a passive question. It’s passive because it can cause people to think of what is being done to them rather than what they are doing for themselves.
When we answers such static questions our response is environmental – that is we attribute the reasons for this answer to external factors, not ourselves. This encourages us and others when answering passive questions, to abdicate responsibility and accountability for ourselves. It also means that what we address, as a result of the responses we get from asking passive questions, will not help us address what we can do to improve.
In the video below Marshall Goldsmith provides an overview of how you can use active questions to improve yourself. Simlarly, your team can use them in turn to improve themselves.
So, what’s the alternative?
Active questions are the alternative to passive questions. There is a huge difference between “Do you have clear goals?” and “Did you do your best to set clear goals for yourself?” The former is trying to determine the employee’s state of mind; the latter challenges the employee to describe or defend a course of action.
Here They Are: The Six Questions that Will Set You Up to Be Super Successful!
Here are six active questions which, if you discipline yourself to ask them every day, will help you alter your behaviour:
- Did I do my best to increase my happiness?
- Did I do my best to find meaning?
- Did I do my best to be engaged?
- Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
- Did I do my best to set clear goals?
- Did I do my best to make progress toward goal achievement?
My challenge to you? Try it for yourself and see! If you like, try this for 2 weeks and then send me a quick note and let me know how it is working for you. I can’t wait to hear from you!
To find out more and discuss this and other ways to improve leadership effectiveness and organizational performance further contact Andrew Cooke (MGSCC), call Andrew Cooke on +61 (0)401 842 673 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find further insights and a wealth of material on business and leadership on Andrew’s other blog – Growth & Profit Solution Blog. There are also a large number of resources at his Blue Sky GPS Website, and these can be found Blue Sky GPS Resources.