Often, when people tell us about something that's worrying them, they talk "around" the topic. Counselors call it the "presenting issue." It can be difficult for them to get right to the heart of the issue; or, they may not be clear and able to articulate what they are thinking and feeling. If you feel that concerns aren't getting out into the open, use these questions that will help bring important clues to the surface.
Four Good Questions to Get You There
1. What do you consider the fundamental thing that we should be trying to achieve?
2. If you had the sole choice, what would you most like to see happen now?
3. Can you think of three specific areas that concern you about this issue?
4. What else is causing you to worry about this?
Questions help people clarify what may be fuzzy or difficult to discuss. Asking--then listening--will help you become a trusted colleague and interpersonal leader.
Note: Thank you for continuing to subscribe to All Things Workplace as we continue to try creating actionable ideas that you can apply immediately on-the-job. Keep an eye out for our upcoming book designed to help managers quickly reference the "how to's" of daily professional leadership.