Harnessing the Power of Inquisitiveness and Attentiveness: The Key Duo for Effective Managers

Last month, we discussed the difficulties that leaders and managers encounter in the current hybrid era. This prompts me to ponder whether the pandemic has led to a decline in the effectiveness of communication.

In the current rapidly changing business environment, the importance of effective communication cannot be overstated. For managers, the ability to extract optimum performance from their team members is crucial. However, with the increasing complexity of the situation, many managers find themselves wondering about the most effective means of communication, particularly when team members are rarely available in one location simultaneously. To learn effective communication skills in business, you can get a practitioner diploma in executive coaching from a reputable institution.

Mastering the art of effective communication through strategic questioning

Unfortunately, effective communication skills remain an overlooked aspect of hiring decisions in management.

The unintentional supervisor is a consequence of inadequate training provided to individuals who are promoted into managerial positions despite being highly capable. The demonstrated competence in technical aspects of their job does not guarantee their effectiveness in leading and managing others.

To ensure optimal performance, our managers should possess well-developed interpersonal abilities. This includes the ability to effectively communicate through thoughtful questioning, enabling them to harness the potential of those within their circle.

Coaching is a rising trend in workplace management, gaining popularity due to its collaborative and non-hierarchical nature. This approach empowers employees to actively participate in their own growth and development. Central to coaching is the skill of asking insightful questions, which plays a crucial role in effective management. Well-constructed questions assist managers in gaining a deeper understanding of their colleagues’ desires, motivations, and viewpoints, enabling them to enhance their skills and accomplish their objectives.

Coaching is grounded in the principle that effective coaches should pose open-ended queries, fostering the coachee’s examination of their thoughts and emotions, ultimately enabling them to discover their own solutions. In contrast, closed questions requiring a simple yes or no response fail to offer the same chance for introspection and personal development.

Open-ended inquiries prompt individuals to offer additional details and offer a broader perspective. They stimulate individuals to engage in profound and imaginative thinking. A coach or manager may ask their colleagues well-constructed open-ended queries to elicit thoughtful responses. Here are some examples of effective open-ended questions for a coach or manager to ask their colleagues:

  • Uncover your inner drive: Discover what inspires you at work.
  • Increase your desired activities and minimise the ones you dislike

These illustrations serve as valuable tools in motivating colleagues to reflect on their driving factors and discover their passion for their work. Simultaneously, they assist managers in comprehending what inspires their employees, enabling them to identify ways to leverage their strengths and support optimal performance.

If you are a manager looking to guide your team members in becoming more resourceful and achieving success in specific projects, here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • How can your job be transformed for the better?
  • What are the objectives you have set for this undertaking, and what measures can you implement to attain them?
  • How can we visualise success?

This form of inquiry stimulates fresh perspectives, encourages creative idea generation, and brings attention to potential barriers impeding a positive result. For supervisors, it demonstrates a cooperative mindset. Additionally, it reveals areas where team members may require assistance, allowing managers to offer personalised support in overcoming obstacles and accomplishing assigned objectives.

The importance of listening skills for effective managers

To achieve the highest level of questioning, it is not only essential to ask high-quality questions but also crucial to actively listen and engage as a good listener.

Listening is often perceived as a straightforward skill, yet its mastery is far from effortless. Despite having the ability to exercise control over it, many individuals fail to truly listen and comprehend the messages conveyed during conversations. While we may perceive the sounds and words spoken by others, genuine understanding and active engagement require a deeper level of attentiveness. This entails attentively observing both verbal and non-verbal cues, effectively deciphering unspoken messages and interpreting the underlying intentions communicated through body language.

Managers must exhibit equal consideration and attentiveness towards others as they do towards their own thoughts. According to Patrick King’s insightful book, “How to Listen with Intention,” being a good listener necessitates setting aside personal interests and ego, and graciously allowing others to take the spotlight.

When managers engage in discussions about performance and development, it is important for them to shift their perspective and prioritise active listening instead of preparing their own responses. Developing the skill of being a good listener allows managers to be present in the conversation and demonstrate conversational empathy, as effective communication goes beyond the literal words exchanged.

Active listening is widely recognized as an essential skill in coaching. It plays a vital role in the management of coaching styles as it enables managers to build stronger connections with their colleagues and foster an environment that values being listened to and understood. Active listening entails both focusing on the speaker’s words and being attuned to their verbal and non-verbal signals.

Managers who engage in active listening demonstrate their ability to grasp the context and subtle aspects of their team members’ experiences, requirements, and objectives. This practice also enables them to establish a crucial foundation of trust and mutual understanding with their colleagues, as individuals feel appreciated and acknowledged when they are attentively heard.

By adopting a coaching approach that involves improving questioning techniques and active listening skills, managers can establish stronger connections with their team members. This not only facilitates their professional growth and goal achievement but also cultivates a highly productive and satisfying work atmosphere. These two straightforward yet immensely impactful strategies are essential for effective coaching managers.

By embracing a management approach characterised by the use of coaching techniques, such as effective questioning and active listening, managers have the potential to transform the current situation and cultivate a favourable work atmosphere that promotes imagination, collaboration, novelty, and advancement. This method brings advantages not only to the employees themselves but also allows managers to attain their organisational goals by empowering their team members and enabling them to reach their maximum potential.