BeautifulQuestionIn a recent Harvard Business Review blog post, journalist Warren Berger discusses the importance to effective leadership of asking the right questions – with the emphasis on the word “right.”

How you question is critical,” says Berger. “Questions can be great for engaging and motivating people, but they can just as easily be used to confront or blame, and can shift the mood from positive to negative.”

By way of example, Berger  – author of A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas – offers five common questions that can get discussions off on the wrong foot. For example, he points out that “Haven’t we tried this already?” can “come off as condescending or even defeatist.” Instead he suggests changes to wording that focus on the positive rather than the negative (e.g., “If we tried this now, what would be different this time?”).

I believe that Berger’s suggestions are of benefit to law firm leaders as well as corporate leaders, and I encourage you to take a look at this article. As always, I welcome your feedback on this or any other subject related to law-firm management, either via the comments section, or directly by email.