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Leadership Nudge® 299 – 7 Sins of Questioning

Asking binary, self-affirming questions robs us of the opportunity to learn more. Ask questions from the perspective of curiosity, aiming to uncover what others see and think. Avoid the 7 Sins of Questioning and learn how to ask better questions with this week’s download.


It turns out there is such a thing as a bad question, or at least some questions that are better than others. And here’s the general pattern: questions that stem from an idea that you think you know the answer or you think you know what’s going on, are generally not as good as truly openly curious questions where you’re learning from the other person, why they think what they think” and “what is it that they see, that you don’t see. Does that make sense? See, that was an example, this is what we call a binary selfaffirming question. Binary -does that make sense? Yes? No? It forces people into one of two bins. Number two – “does that make sense?” “uh huh” – I’m looking for mindless head nods. “We good here?”  “We safe, right?” “You got the tools you need?” “uh huh, uh huh, no.” 

The problem is, you want to ask the question in a way that makes it easy for people to provide dissenting information. For example, “What am I missing?”  How could this be wrong?”  What could be made more clear?”  So in general, there are seven specific categories that we go through for the seven sins, but in general, the idea is ask a question assuming you don’t know what is going on and your job is really be curious about finding out from them what their side is. I’m David Marquet, that’s your leadership nudge. 

To learn more, read our IBL Blog – The Seven Sins of Questioning



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