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What to ask to create a successful team

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

Studies show that most successful teams have a psychologically safe environment, which simply means co-workers can trust each other. Beth Kuhel writes for Forbes about the essential questions to ask co-workers to create an environment for trust and success.

  • Kickstarter questions. Asking a team member for her opinion is a good “kickstarter” question. It shows the member you value her input, which lets her be more open when sharing.
  • A.W.E. questions. Also known as “And what else?” This lets the worker keep reflecting on her thought, which often ends with her solving her own problem. When a member formulates a solution, they feel more connected to the group. Instead of jumping in and saving the day with your own solution, ask “what else?” to see if they can figure it out themselves.
  • Focus questions. When co-workers ask for advice, they often miss the real issue at hand. Ask them what their real challenge is and they are more likely to narrow things down toward the main issue. You will be able to better help them and they will walk away with a clearer understanding.
  • Laziness questions. This is the question you ask when you know someone is looking for help. Di­­rectly ask what she needs help with; it will make her think about her task at hand and what you can do to help. If she asks you to do something you don’t feel is a productive use of your time, say no. A successful team can only exist when people feel they are doing things that need to be done.
  • Learning questions. Asking a member’s takeaway from a situation forces her to look deeper into what happened. When she can reflect on the problem, solution or idea, she often comes out with a better understanding of how to approach things next time.

— Adapted from “How Leaders Can Engage Teams by Asking the Right Questions,” Beth Kuhel, Forbes.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Scott Brown June 20, 2016 at 10:43 am

While these are all great questions and can help stimulate tesm performance, none of them help develop team safety. The concept of safety is built on a platform of inclusion, empathy, and concern. How you respond to these questions is guided by your cultural platform and is what develops team chemistry. Safety, chemistry, and cooperation is all built through relationships, which are developed over time and through consistent two-way communication.
Are the questions listed important? Absolutely! Just don’t think they will give you a team. They will help guide your team’s actions, choices, and strategies while you’re developing a culture that promotes learning, development, performance, and growth.


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