10 Strategies to Ask Questions and Problem-Solve

Every group of people brings with it its own advantages and challenges. Backgrounds, stress levels, communication styles, participant mix, distractions, room setup, and more can affect a group’s ability and attitude toward answering questions. Here are some quick tips to help get you started problem-solving with your team:

  • Open questions start a discussion and inspire participation:
    What has been your experience with managing teams with a mix of generations?
    How would your proposed policy affect recruitment?
  • Closed questions clarify answers, check information, and manage logistics
    Did you mean that it is better to have a mix of generations on a team?
    Who would like a 30-minute break policy for lunch??


1 – Choose a relaxed environment. Make it off-site if you can.

2 – Be clear about the topic of the meeting when you send the meeting invitations.

3 – Offer refreshments so people are comfortable.

4 – Start with an icebreaker. It warms up the room and helps set the tone of the meeting.
Present the problem clearly. No judgement. Just what happened.

5 – Identify any assumptions you’re making.

6 – Use mostly open questions

7 – Make sure your question is balanced. Avoid leading questions

8 – Use simple language. Avoid jargon (technical or industry terms) or acronyms (LMS, CPRS, etc.)

9 – Use a real-life situations, but you may need to change the details

10 – Respect people’s time. Manage your time well. Keep the discussions on topic.


What can you do differently to help your team problem-solve together?



  1. Glen on July 30, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I have been teaching people to brainstorm as part of a leadership class over the past week and i like some of the suggestions.
    I have to say I was surprised to not establish ground rules…
    A big one is defer judgement evaluate later… people need to say whatever comes to mind to get what came to mind off their mind… no matter how absurd.
    The absurd idea may be the perfect stimulant for the next great idea.

  2. Catherine Doucette on July 31, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Hi Glen,

    Good to hear from you. I agree that these are good points to add.
    Not enough room to put them in all a blog with ten tips 🙂

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