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The Importance of Asking Questions Over Giving Answers

– Contributed content –

Business meeting at long table

(Christina Morillo,

30 July 2018. One of the most interesting ways to mentor your employees is to ask questions instead of giving answers. It might seem like a weird and unnatural way to approach problem-solving, but it makes sense once you think about it for more than a couple of seconds. The idea isn’t just to give the answers to your employees but to train them to think logically about how they can solve the issue themselves in the future.

It’s a fundamental way to teach someone something. By asking questions, you stimulate their mind and help them overcome the problem by posing them simple steps to reach the same conclusion that you have. It sounds basic once it’s been explained, but the importance of asking questions over giving answers actually goes deeper than that.

Working with new employees

Nowadays, a popular strategy for nurturing a healthly working environment is to hire interns. Some people consider it as cheap labour, and others think of it as a way to grow talent inside of your company. Interns are different from most employees because they join a company knowing that they’re at the bottom of the barrel. They know nothing about the company, they know little about your work processes and all they have is the knowledge they’ve picked up in school.

When it comes to interns, they’re thirsty for knowledge. They want to study, they want to learn and they want to ask you all kinds of questions because they demand answers on how to become just as successful as you. One of the best ways to teach new employees (especially interns) is to consider the 3-step knowledge transfer solution. Sooner or later, there’s going to be a gap between your company’s current professional capacity and what you’ll require several months or even years down the line. Mentoring interns and new employees is a fantastic way to close this gap to ensure that your company stays efficient.

Asking critical questions

This is where the importance of asking questions comes in to play. It’s not just about giving answers to your employees because they’re lacking knowledge, it’s about helping them understand the problems.

Dissecting challenges into easy-to-digest pieces is one of the core concepts to understand when attempting to mentor someone. It’s about showing them how to break down a problem by posing questions. Avoid giving yes or no questions and pose questions that are capable of stimulating their mind. Ask them to explain things that they should understand and ensure that their knowledge is rooted within education and not guesswork. Let them know that their past studies and experience matter. If it doesn’t and they come from a background of useless information and study that won’t help them in your industry, then let them know and help them start from scratch.There’s always a perfect balance of asking questions versus giving answers, but when it comes to nurturing new talent in your business and growing your office culture, more questions need to be asked and fewer answers need to be handed out.

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