“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”  ― Voltaire

Voltaire's quote above can be applied to a variety of professions. Detectives and interrogators craft their queries to extract the information they need. An artist's worth is derived from creative attacks on the mysteries of life. Journalists who fail to ask the right questions don't often get far — though some end up with high-profile gigs at CNN anyway.

Think about your job and the answers you're required to procure throughout your workday. It could be something minor like, "How do I convince the IT guy to let me install this plug-in?" to something major like, "How do I reach these kids?" As Fast Company's Stephanie Vozza writes, the key to obtaining the best answers is to optimize your questioning:

"Instead of thinking of questions as a sign of weakness, Krista Brookman, vice president of the Inclusive Leadership Initiative at Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that seeks to expand opportunities for women and business, says leaders should consider questions to be a way to open doors and start important conversations.

'Good questions create good dialogue,' she says. 'Questions allow leaders to connect with employees and better understand what’s going on with that individual. Ultimately asking questions makes you a better leader.'"

Vozza offers five key elements to crafting better questions. They include making sure your questions empower rather than stifle, being inclusive rather than exclusive, and challenging assumptions held by both the asker and answerer. Good questions encourage critical thinking and the honing of new perspectives. "Yes or no" questions don't do this. "Why?" questions do.

Check out her full article (linked below) for more tips on optimal question craftsmanship.

Read more at Fast Company.

Photo credit: Ollyy / Shutterstock