I threw my best friend under the bus during a dinner the other night, and he wasn’t even there. I’m writing this because I apologized to him this morning. What followed was a very healthy discussion on questioning, effective board members, and relationships.
The other night I was having dinner with four good friends. I started the dinner using my friend as a bad example. I knew I made everyone uncomfortable because I was uncomfortable when I brought it up. But I needed their feedback.
Successfully Destroying Trust
In a recent board meeting, my friend started asking very direct questions. The kind which leads the listener down a path to the questioner’s conclusion.
I felt the tension building from the CEO because he knew the questions were leading somewhere he might not want to go.
At the dinner, I confessed that I do this with my kids. Then I realized I do it with people I mentor and even with my wife. This line of questioning does not build trust. It destroys it.
If I have something to say, I need to say it. If I have a question to ask, I should ask it. But the questions should be motivated by curiosity. Questions shouldn’t end with me ambushing the person.
Fear Based Questioning
One of my dinner friends said, “The reason we use this questioning technique is fear.”
“Fear?” I asked.
“Yes. Fear. We want to control the outcome. So we use this questioning technique to get us there. It is fear motivated and therefore disingenuous.”
“The questions are motivated in knowing I am right or being fearful you are wrong. In both cases, I am driven by fear,” I said.
“That’s it,” he replied.
Trusting God for Outcomes
Life and business. It is all about relationships. We need to respect each other and trust God with the outcome.
As best friends, we are learning together. The conversation ended with him telling me, “I love you.” He is my friend for life.
Also published on Medium.