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Asking for opinions and perspectives

Our examination of the leadership behaviours that underpin employee motivation (stemming from the work of Deci and Ryan on Self Determination Theory) continues in this post to the area of Asking for opinions and perspectives . You don’t grow and evolve by arguing with others, you grow and evolve by gaining new insights, opinions, and perspectives. Everyone has their own unique set of life experiences that prompt them to think and perceive things in a certain way, so why not use this to your advantage? So how do we do this? well I looked at two key skills - asking questions and listening to the answers.


Ask the person open ended questions, such as:

  • What is your opinion on this.....?

  • I'd value your perspective on this, What have you considered so far?

  • What is your reaction to this...?

  • How do you feel about...?

  • What do you think?

  • How have you approached situations like this in the past?

And draw them our by asking follow up questions

  • ‘That’s interesting. What makes you think that / feel that way?’

  • How did you arrive at that perspective?

  • How has your perspective evolved about this...?


A crucial leadership skill I've written about here (Listen Up) and here (Cappuccino Listening) . Most people think listening is waiting for their turn to speak so try to listen without thinking of your next question or formulating your next response

Listen to the other party. It’s annoying when people just read a headline and don’t read the actual article. Make sure to listen to the actual substance of what the other party is saying, not just a snippet of what they’re saying

Don’t only see and look for what supports your view. You won’t grow if you don’t open up your mind to other perspectives and opinions that you’ve previously been ignoring. Understanding other sides doesn’t mean you have to agree with the other side

Pause to formulate a thoughtful response or your next question this takes seconds but seems longer, but affords the speaker more time for additional speaking

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