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Topics: Communications Management, Leadership, Talent Management
Ask or Answer?
Network:3011



When relating to your team members, which strategy is most appropriate?
- Ask questions "forcing" team members to find answers and / or solutions?
- Give answers and indicate solutions according to what you consider most appropriate?
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Luis -

As always, it depends.

As a default, I'd suggest that it is better for a leader to ask thought provoking questions to help team members identify problems clearly, come up with their own options and commit to a given option. Without this, the leader risks demotivating the team and might end up proposing a solution which is not better than one the team might have come up for themselves.

However, if there is a genuine time sensitive crisis OR if the team members are very junior and lack the experience or knowledge to come up with options, the leader could be more directive with guidance and solutions.

Kiron
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 15, 2019 8:36 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

In the scenario: "if the team members are very junior and lacking the experience or knowledge" is it preferable to ask questions or give answers?
Network:3011



Nov 15, 2019 8:07 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Luis -

As always, it depends.

As a default, I'd suggest that it is better for a leader to ask thought provoking questions to help team members identify problems clearly, come up with their own options and commit to a given option. Without this, the leader risks demotivating the team and might end up proposing a solution which is not better than one the team might have come up for themselves.

However, if there is a genuine time sensitive crisis OR if the team members are very junior and lack the experience or knowledge to come up with options, the leader could be more directive with guidance and solutions.

Kiron
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

In the scenario: "if the team members are very junior and lacking the experience or knowledge" is it preferable to ask questions or give answers?
...
1 reply by Eric Simms
Nov 15, 2019 12:44 PM
Eric Simms
...
How I'd act in this scenario depends on my goals. Do I want the junior team members to learn to think through a problem and reach a solution? In that case I'd probably ask them questions. Do I have something time-sensitive that needs to be done? In that case I probably tell the junior members the answers so they can act upon them.
Network:82



It all depends on your level of knowledge too. It's all too easy to express an opinion as a PM based on experience, but using SME's to gain the relevant up to date knowledge is important.

If I am sure of an answer, I will provide it. If I am unsure, I will either defer to a team member or take wider feedback and discussion. Either way, I see the role of a PM as a source for answers, whether that be directly ir indirectly to provide information and direction.
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 15, 2019 9:10 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Karl
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your feedback.

Wrote: "I see the role of a PM as a source for answers, whether that directly goes indirectly to provide information and direction"
How have you been with this approach?
Network:3011



Nov 15, 2019 9:00 AM
Replying to Karl Twort
...
It all depends on your level of knowledge too. It's all too easy to express an opinion as a PM based on experience, but using SME's to gain the relevant up to date knowledge is important.

If I am sure of an answer, I will provide it. If I am unsure, I will either defer to a team member or take wider feedback and discussion. Either way, I see the role of a PM as a source for answers, whether that be directly ir indirectly to provide information and direction.
Dear Karl
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your feedback.

Wrote: "I see the role of a PM as a source for answers, whether that directly goes indirectly to provide information and direction"
How have you been with this approach?
...
1 reply by Karl Twort
Nov 15, 2019 9:30 AM
Karl Twort
...
With over 15 years of IT PM expertise, I have gained a certain amount of knowledge. I can discuss and interact with a team at a technical level and share my thoughts, ideas, opinions and answers. That said, technology and solutions are evolving every day. When I don't know an answer, I will divert to an expert to gain the knowledge - this may be individually or as part of a Expert working group.

Its fine for a PM to express an answer, but I actively encourage my knowledge to be challenged with other options from other sources, internal and external where required
Network:82



Nov 15, 2019 9:10 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Karl
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your feedback.

Wrote: "I see the role of a PM as a source for answers, whether that directly goes indirectly to provide information and direction"
How have you been with this approach?
With over 15 years of IT PM expertise, I have gained a certain amount of knowledge. I can discuss and interact with a team at a technical level and share my thoughts, ideas, opinions and answers. That said, technology and solutions are evolving every day. When I don't know an answer, I will divert to an expert to gain the knowledge - this may be individually or as part of a Expert working group.

Its fine for a PM to express an answer, but I actively encourage my knowledge to be challenged with other options from other sources, internal and external where required
Network:24


Hello Luis

It depends on the question, the culture of the team, the level of authority and lots of other factors. As a project manager for over15 years, I always adapt to the situation before making a move.

In a case where the collaboration is a value of the team, then asking open ended questions to get a quick design thinking is best.

In a case where the stakeholders are not that receptive to questions, then planting a seed in their head so they come up with the solution so we empower them to move forward is best.

Once again, it depends. If you have concrete examples, we can further discuss.

Thanks
Edward
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 15, 2019 1:01 PM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Edward
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Overall, what is your approach? Question or answer?
Network:264



It's generally better to ask powerful questions and help others to find their own conclusions. They will accept and support an answer if they came up with it themselves. This approach requires a lot of practice and patience, however, especially if you already know the answer!
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 15, 2019 1:04 PM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Wade
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I found your answer interesting: "It's generally better to ask powerful questions and help others to find their own conclusions"
Network:649



Nov 15, 2019 8:36 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Kiron
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

In the scenario: "if the team members are very junior and lacking the experience or knowledge" is it preferable to ask questions or give answers?
How I'd act in this scenario depends on my goals. Do I want the junior team members to learn to think through a problem and reach a solution? In that case I'd probably ask them questions. Do I have something time-sensitive that needs to be done? In that case I probably tell the junior members the answers so they can act upon them.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 15, 2019 1:08 PM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Eric
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I found the two scenarios you present very interesting

Which do you think you get the best long-term results?
Network:3011



Nov 15, 2019 11:26 AM
Replying to Edward Ko
...
Hello Luis

It depends on the question, the culture of the team, the level of authority and lots of other factors. As a project manager for over15 years, I always adapt to the situation before making a move.

In a case where the collaboration is a value of the team, then asking open ended questions to get a quick design thinking is best.

In a case where the stakeholders are not that receptive to questions, then planting a seed in their head so they come up with the solution so we empower them to move forward is best.

Once again, it depends. If you have concrete examples, we can further discuss.

Thanks
Edward
Dear Edward
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Overall, what is your approach? Question or answer?
Network:3011



Nov 15, 2019 12:25 PM
Replying to Wade Harshman
...
It's generally better to ask powerful questions and help others to find their own conclusions. They will accept and support an answer if they came up with it themselves. This approach requires a lot of practice and patience, however, especially if you already know the answer!
Dear Wade
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

I found your answer interesting: "It's generally better to ask powerful questions and help others to find their own conclusions"
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