When communicating and giving feedback, leaders should use questions rather than statements for a number of reasons.
When leaders ask questions and solicit solutions, they gain commitment to the execution of that solution since the direct report feels empowered. Secondly, they expand the direct report’s critical thinking ability when they ask questions, probe for answers, outcomes, and long term ramifications.
In Jim Collins’ book, “How the Mighty Fall,” he stresses the importance of a leader’s question to statement ratio suggesting they appoint someone in a team meeting to track how many statements they make and how many questions are asked. Then he suggests leaders systematically try to increase the number of questions to double that ratio over the period of one year.
Leaders should empower direct reports by using questions to increase critical thinking and problem solving ability throughout the organization for more success.