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Art of Asking Questions

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 53 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2005 Pages: 66,69,70
Mark Field
Date Published
March 2005
3 pages
This article identifies ways in which leaders in law enforcement can approach the question-asking process to assist officers in understanding problems they may be encountering on the job and ways for the officers to find answers to these problems through the presentation of skillful questions.
Leaders in law enforcement are often confronted with an officer coming into their office with problems and struggles they are encountering within their job. They are searching for answers and solutions. Most times, however, there are no immediate solutions to an officer’s problems, and most leaders do not have any insightful wisdom to offer. The art of asking questions is truly an art in every sense of the word. There are some basic questions that leaders can ask to assist the officer in looking at circumstances from a different point of view, the question-asking process. The art or skill in asking questions or the way in which leaders ask questions can allow an officer to see a situation in a proper context and with more clarity. Open-ended questions are seen as the best way to accomplish this purpose. It is suggested that leaders begin by asking questions to draw out general information. This is in lieu of pointed comments or quick responses. Questions invite conversation. It is also important to avoid mishearing what the other is saying. The right questions can dispel misconceptions. Providing open-ended questions allows leaders to relay, with sensitivity, what people perceive as truth. Leaders must stay focused with questions, focusing on repeated ideas. This helps the officer identify the causes of problems and pinpoint hindrances to solutions. In asking questions, open-ended questions, it helps individuals find their own solutions which are suited to their needs and circumstances.