According to Socrates, “Wisdom is limited to an awareness of your own ignorance.” Socrates used his Socratic Method as a means of uncovering this ignorance by challenging the completeness of thinking. His series of disciplined and probing questions brought his students to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter or issue. Can a business leader use the Socratic Method to build a learning organization that is agile, adaptable, and creative? Is there a business benefit to creating a culture that not only encourages independent thinking and sound reasoning, but also accepts the responsibility of their decisions?
The Socratic process can be broken down into a series of 6 steps of questioning:
The year ahead is going to be challenging. When your business is faced with a combination of resource limitations, personal insecurity and demands for greater productivity, emotions will run high. For a business manager this represents a significant challenge, and that’s why helping your team stay focused through logical questioning will help them keep on track. One important thing to remember though, is that Socrates, while an excellent teacher, also used this method of questioning to “shred” his opponents. That means the Socratic Method can be used for both building up and tearing down – so remain mindful of how you use it.