Open-Ended Questions: Solving Problems and Creating Leadership

Open-Ended Questions: What are they? How do they create opportunities for greater understanding in solving problems and creating leadership?

One of the most important skills in leadership is the ability to answer open-ended questions. ~

The first step in a conversation is an open-ended question.

Examples of Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions enable a person to give meaningful, well-developed answers.  The person uses knowledge, feelings, creativity, and skills of self-expression.

Furthermore, these questions show how well a person can think divergently. That is, to see not just one solution, but multiple solutions.


“What are business problems that you have solved? How did you solve them?”

“What would you do if you never had to work again?”

“Why should I hire you?”

Examples of Closed-End Questions

People use convergent thinking to answer closed-end questions. Additionally, closed-end questions have one answer.  The person uses facts and the ability to deduce factual information.

“What color is your car?”

“How many fish in the bowl?”

“Did you leave at 4:30?”

The Importance of Developing Skills for Open-Ended Questions

Some brilliant people have very poor skills for answering open-ended questions. They have vast amounts of knowledge.  They know the facts and may even have the ability to see solutions.

However, their careers falter, because they cannot express their knowledge and their ideas.

For example, financial executives must have skills to know the accuracy of their calculations.

CFOs must be able to explain to a board what the numbers mean.  Additionally, they must be able discuss how the company got into a financial position and how to manage the company’s finances going forward.

Presentation Skills

The place to start learning how to answer open-ended questions is presentation skills.  Developing these skills with help you do many things.

  • Sell more effectively,
  • Interview more effectively,
  • Become a more effective public speaker,
  • Be a leader in workplace meetings.

In short, you will be more successful when you develop your skills to answer open-ended questions.

In conclusion, here are articles that will you help you become more effective in answering open-ended questions.

Persuasive Presentations: 10 Powerful Steps to Success

The Seven Steps of a Persuasive Presentation

Interview Preparation: Three Steps That Will Land You the Job