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Asking questions has always played a role in leadership, but it’s more vital than ever in today’s fast-changing digital landscape. Here are the questions leaders and their colleagues should be asking to prompt exploration, innovation and shifting perspectives.

Questions to help you dig deeper:

  • What else?
  • What is beneath that?
  • What are your underlying needs?
  • What do you think the other person wants?
  • Why do you think you reacted that way?
  • What are your emotions telling you?
  • What is your intellect telling you?
  • What’s really going on?
  • Is there a bigger picture?
  • What drives that response/behavior/performance?
  • How can it get even better?

Questions to help you get more contextual information:

  • Can you give me more insight into the context?
  • Who is around you?
  • What are your support mechanisms?
  • What is your responsibility as defined by your job description?

Questions to help you shift or change perspective:

  • How can you look at this another way?
  • What is another person’s perspective?
  • Are there other options?
  • If you were an observer what would you notice?
  • What’s the 10,000 foot perspective?
  • Who looks at this from another angle?
  • If you stood on the table/on the moon what would your perspective be?
  • If you were 5 years in the future what would you say about this situation?

Questions to elicit innovative or creative thinking:

  • What’s a metaphor for this?
  • What’s possible?
  • What’s a backward way to get at this?
  • Is there a different way to approach it?
  • What are you dissatisfied with?
  • What are the opportunities?
  • What would an amazing breakthrough look/smell/sound/feel like?
  • What resources do you need?
  • How would this work in an ideal world?
  • What’s a new way to think about it?
  • How could you tap into your creative brain about this?