“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” – Leo Burnett
There you are, preparing for your team meeting. You have that one team member who asks questions about almost everything you say. Quite frankly, they make you tired. You find yourself dreading the meeting. You find yourself trying to make sure you have an answer for every potential question that she is going to ask you. Certainly that is very draining.
Have you ever stopped to consider why she asks so many questions? Have you had a chance to sit back and look at the situation from 20,000 feet? Is she asking questions to taunt you, to hassle you? Or is she asking questions because they need context? Perhaps she is asking questions out of curiosity.
No matter why you think she is asking you questions, you are still going to answer her with good information; in a calm professional manner – after all you are a professional! Before you assume that she is asking you questions to hassle you or because she has to know every single detail before she can do their job, consider the value of their questions.
If she really is asking you questions to challenge your authority, Good! Bring it on. This is an opportunity to showcase your leadership skills. To show that you are able to accept being challenged. Answer truthfully what you do know and answer truthfully about what you do not know. Allow other people on the team to help step in and fill any gaps. Typically someone who is challenging you will stop once they are satisfied.
If she is asking questions because she needs context, then you want to provide that context because you want her to be able to do her job. If this is disruptive in the middle of the team meeting consider having special time with her to make sure she has what she needs to do her job. Or make sure she has time with another lead so that she understands what she needs to do the job. It is possible that her questions are helping other people in the room who are not speaking up.
If she is asking questions out of curiosity, this is great! She is engaged and interested in the project. She might be a good problem solver. Once she asks questions it might set her mind into action. She may come up with different and creative approaches to meet the project objectives. Her questions when handled well will help the rest of the team become creative too. You don’t want to discourage the questions. You want to harness the power of those questions for you and the entire team.
And if you’re not sure why someone is asking questions, then you should answer their question with your own question. Asking them about the basis of their questions and letting them know that you’re asking so that you can be the most helpful.
Let the questions continue!