The Super Fantastic Leadership Show: Problems or Solutions


078: Are Your Questions About Problems or Solutions?


This week’s show is all about the questions we ask. Do we ask questions to come up with solutions or only to address problems. Now that may seem like sort of a strange question but as research shows, the questions we ask guide our attention and of course, our actions.

Problem focused questions are all about “who did it” and “who’s responsible here?” Causality.And, the belief is that if we find the cause, then we can solve the problem. Logically, it makes sense. However, often our belief in cause in effect is inaccurate as most issues we are caused to address as leaders have their own emerging complexity and therefore, trying to pin any issue down to one related causality doesn’t really work very well. When we focus on solution based questions, we put our attention on desired goal states, recognize resources and strengths and disconnect from problem-focused thinking. We are more capable of using a strengths based approach that emphasizes people’s resources and resilience and how these can be used in the pursuit of purposeful, positive change. Sounds a lot better than focusing on a problem doesn’t it?

Well, try this for yourself. Think of an issue you’ve been having and then, try on both sets of these questions:
Set A: how long has this been a problem? How did it start? What are your thoughts about this problem? How do you react when you have those thoughts? What impact is this having on you?
Set B: Think about a possible solution to the problem you just described; describe the solution. Describe some ways you could start to move towards creating this solution.

It’s probably obvious which questions are focused on the problem versus the solution right?

Which set of questions do you prefer? Let us know what you think and how you react to each set of questions and to the idea of having problem-based approach versus a solution-based approach. You can comment right below.

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