The Second Question

In his eBook Great Leaders Ask Questions, Bob Tiede writes this in the introduction:

Are you familiar with T.A.? You are probably familiar with A.A.—Alcoholics Anonymous. Well, T.A. stands for “Tellers Anonymous!”

I have an addiction—I am addicted to telling! At T.A. meetings I stand up and introduce myself: “My name is Bob and I am a teller.”

Today, I am a recovering teller. However, the temptation to “lead by telling” has never left me.

You could say that this eBook—sharing my favorite questions with you—is part of my recovery program, as is my blog: Leading with questions takes preparation, intentionality, discipline and practice. Good news! If I can move from telling to asking, so can you!

Then, with a brief statement of his goal—to help the reader increase his or her leadership effectiveness—Tiede provides more than 100 of his favorite “Leading with Questions” questions in order to help every teller on the planet become more of a question-asker.

But I found the following section particularly interesting as I read through Tiede’s pages. Many of us understand the value of asking that first question, but what about the next one?


Dan Rockwell of “Leadership Freak” fame says: “Any fool can ask the first question; wise leaders ask the second.”

Asking the second question will double your effectiveness in leading with questions.

For example, you ask a friend: “What have you been up to?” Your friend says: “Just got back from a two week business trip to South Korea.” Your second question might be: “What did you learn about doing business in South Korea?” Or your friend says: “Just finished reading a great book on Executing Strategic Plans.” Your second question might be: “What are you going to immediately put into practice?”

During the past two months I have become very intentional about asking the second question and have been astonished at how effective this simple technique is.

And of course, whenever you are not quite sure exactly how to phrase the second question, you can always simply ask: “Can you please tell me more?”

The next question. Following up because we’ve listened attentively. It works in business. It works in everyday life, too—whether you consider yourself a leader or not.

Today, how you begin to practice asking the second question?

Pamela Klein
On Q Editor

On Q would like to thank Q Place Denver Lead City Catalyst, Fran Goodrich, for introducing us to this great resource.

This article has 1 comments

  1. Fran Goodrich

    You are welcome, Pam. And I’d like to thank Doug Pollock, who introduced me to Bob Tiede’s great book. The cool thing is, Bob has a blog that comes to my email each week, giving me further instructions about asking questions, and inspiring me to do it more. Check out his website: