Possibility-oriented questions

Marcella Bremer Positive Power Leave a Comment

In the last post, we have seen that our behavior follows our questions.

For instance, I could complain about the lack of response to my emails. I could ask limiting questions that focus on finding the culprit. Why do they not even have the courtesy to reply? Who ignores my emails?
These questions will make me feel annoyed and not valued.

Or I could ask possibility-oriented questions.
I could wonder: How can I engage my colleagues in my projects and keep them informed? Who would like to be involved in what way? How are my co-workers doing right now? What response would they like to get from me…?

It can be very powerful to ask yourself: What do I want for myself and others? What is useful or valuable about this situation? What do the others think and want? What are the most valuable steps forward that I can take? What’s possible…?

Possibility-oriented questions enhance development

Possibility-oriented questions enhance development, says Peggy Holman in her book Engaging Emergence. They attract people who care. They disrupt but do so by focusing on opportunities for something better, more meaningful.

A useful general question is:

* Given all that has happened, what is possible now?
This question follows life energy toward aspirations. While not denying harsh realities, it shifts a story from problems to the possibility for a better future.

What can we do together that none of us could do alone? Click To Tweet

Other powerful questions are:
* What question, if answered, would make a difference in this situation?
* What can we do together that none of us could do alone?

Imagine that you ask this in a team meeting! Asking is often underestimated. Unless your question is very provocative, it seems a passive way to change. But it might be very effective. Our brains are wired to find answers. That’s why we like to solve puzzles. If you ask a question the brain of the listener will start searching for an answer right away, like a diligent dog retrieving a stick.

Inquiry is simple and available to everyone, regardless of your role or position. That is the beauty of it. Focus on what matters, be yourself and make sure you see the other as a person. Next, craft your question and ask…

What would be a possibility-oriented question that you could ask next week?

This is book post #55 – Part “YOU”

Here‘s the earlier post
Here‘s the next post

If you’re confused – please start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

By the way, if you want to contribute to a positive workplace culture, my next open workshop on Positive Culture Change Leadership is scheduled for May 2018! More information and registration is available at a first come first serve basis.

Copyright © Marcella Bremer 2017. All rights reserved.

Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others via your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.

I’m blogging my next book: “Positive Power at Work – How to make a positive difference from any position.” Your feedback is appreciated!

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