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Episode 10: Questions to Help You Make Decisions

decision making podcast Mar 01, 2022

My guess is that as a leader, people come to you looking for answers. Especially in those moments when they have five people all telling them different ways they should handle a situation, or the information is contradictory and the way forward is unclear. When people get caught up into too many options or have exhausted all options, they will walk right into your office (or email you, text you, message you) in hopes you will give them the answer to this ambiguous space they are in.

It’s hard for us as leaders to not just give an answer. And it’s true, in time sensitive situations or on those critical questions you may need to do just that! Other times though you take this as the opportunity to turn their question back to them by asking questions that can help them find their own way instead of offering that advice that’s on the tip of your tongue.

The best way to figure out the kinds of questions you can ask to help them do this processing work is to dive into a few actual situations and play with some questions that might help these leaders find their way through.


It’s budget crunch time and let’s say you are the one putting together the budget for your department. Your team is sharing with you the ideas they have for the next fiscal year and projects they want to see get approved for funding. One of your directors comes to you because they want to buy an expensive piece of equipment because it will make their team more efficient. Replacing a manual process with an automated one. 

A few questions could help YOU make a better decision and help them understand more about their own decision. Listen in to explore questions that can help you achieve that!


A “crisis” makes it really hard to slow down and ask deeper questions that could help THEM make the decision with your support. It’s a development opportunity to help your team learn to lead in crisis . . and you want them to have that skill so you can go on vacation and not get pulled into a crisis when you’re trying to take a break, right?

Okay, so here is the scenario. Your event person walks into your office and tells you that the location for an event just “fell through” and they don’t know what to do. Your first gut instinct is to go to an advice giving or a leading question like: “Have you thought about calling the hotel on 42nd street?” Yep. It’s a question, but it's really advice.

If the solution is totally obvious, giving advice might be the way to go. You could in a “rush” to solve the problem though miss an opportunity to guide them to their own options. So instead of “Have you thought about calling the hotel on 42nd street?” you could ask, “What other options have you thought about?” Listen into follow up questions that will equip your people to ask themselves good questions to make better decisions on their own in the future. 

There are lots of reasons people might come into your office and adding the skill of asking questions to your tool box puts solving the problem back on them without leaving them high and dry to figure it out on their own. 

We ask questions because we want to find our way through – and we can use them to help others find their way through as well. That’s why I started this podcast and continue to invite you to ask questions.  


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