One Question That You Need to be Asking Others that will Make You a Better Leader

By January 4, 2019Blog, Business

For the past few years, I have been asking people one question that has helped me be a better leader, co-worker, spouse, and friend.

Here is the question: How are you doing on a scale of 1-10 and why?

Why is this question a game changer?

  1. It allows people to be honest about where they are at – Rather than just saying “Good” when someone asks us how we are doing, this question makes us think about and share how we are actually doing and why.
  2. It lets you know how people are actually doing – Too often, we let days, weeks, and months go by without actually checking in and finding out how people are doing. Then we are surprised to learn that the people around us have been going through a difficult season for a long period of time. Had we asked the question, we would have been able to walk with that person through their difficult season.
  3. It lets others know that you actually care about them – You’re not just asking how they are doing because it’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re asking with the intent to listen, learn, and care. Isn’t that what all great friends do?
  4. It gives you an opportunity to dive deeper when people are going through a tough time – If someone is below a 7, it’s worth trying to have a conversation around why and see if there is anything you can do to help. Sometimes, you will be able to help them by simply listening to them, other times you may be able to help them with whatever they are going through. It won’t always be appropriate for that person to share why they are having a rough day, week, or month, but it at least will give you an opportunity to continue to check-in and pray for them.
  5. It gives you an opportunity to celebrate with people when they are doing well – If someone is a 9 or a 10, it is usually for a reason. Asking the question allows them to share why they are doing well. When someone is doing well or experiences a win in their lives, we should celebrate them and be their #1 cheerleaders!

How do I use this question?

  • I use it when I greet people every day. It’s the first thing I ask after saying hello.
  • I use it to start off any meetings I am leading. I have the entire team go around and share how they are doing on a scale of 1-10 and why. It’s been great for team building.
  • I use variations of the question depending on who I am asking. For instance, with my wife, I may change the question to, “How is our marriage going for you on a scale of 1-10 and why?”

Other things worth noting about this question:

  • The scale is 1-10 – A 10 means that life could not get any better and a 1 means that life could not get any worse.
  • Everyone’s scale is different – For example, I have had a few team members who said they were 7’s every time I would ask them. In my eyes, a 7 is average and would mean that they are not doing great. However, in their eyes, a 7 was actually pretty good. They would have had to have some amazing things happening to be a 8, 9, or 10. With my personality, I’m usually a 9 or a 10 and often for no specific reason! The more you ask this question, the more familiar you will become with how people give their rating. The important part is not necessarily the number, it is that you are starting a meaningful conversation around how someone is doing.
  • This question can throw off your day or meeting agenda, but it’s worth it! – Too often, the reason we don’t ask how people are they are actually doing is that they may actually tell us! If someone isn’t doing well and you decide to dive deeper into that, it may delay you from doing what you were going to do by a few minutes or it may take up more time than you would want it to in a meeting. While this can be inconvenient, I will tell you that it is worth it. If someone is vulnerable enough to share how they are doing with you, it’s worth diving deeper. It will strengthen your relationship with that person and with your team.

My challenge to you is to start using this question with everyone you interact with. Start using it in your team meetings. Watch what happens. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Thoughts? Comment below.