“Everything going okay here?” “Things going as planned?” “Not having any problems, are we?” Can you guess what all these questions have in common? Well, if you guessed that all of them are examples of closed-ended questions, you’d be right, but only half right.
They are also examples of “leading” questions. A “leading” question is a question that prompts, encourages or invites the desired response. Let’s take a look at them again one at a time:
“Everything going okay here?”
This question implies the answer they think you want to hear, which in turn will discourage them from bringing up their concerns if something isn’t going okay.
The next question suffers from a similar problem:
“Things going as planned?”
Finally, the last question:
“Not having any problems, are we?”
This question suggests that the last thing you want to hear is they they’re having problems.
All of these questions are conversation stoppers. They preempt meaningful dialogue about concerns over safe practices, procedures and processes. And because of that they’re out of place in a safety-leadership walkthrough.
“Walk me through what you’re doing with this”
“Tell me how you are monitoring and controlling the hazards?”
These kinds of questions promote discussion, verify competencies, and invite their concerns all at the same time. And because of that, these are the types of questions we should be asking in our walkthroughs.
That’s it for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. See you next time.
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