On energy and asking questions
On energy There's a video of Steve Jobs speaking to Apple employees in the mid-nineties and you've watched it a million times. I'm sure you've noticed when he claims that employees were happy about their projects being cancelled. Completely leveled. Yet, they were ecstatic—how does that make sense? How could they be jumping with energy, excited about the direction of the company when their work was made null and void? That's the answer: direction. If you throw a ball, it has a lot of energy as it moves through the air, but in order for it to move through three-dimensional space, it also has to have direction. Otherwise, it wouldn't move and there would be no kinetic energy involved. It is much the same with work. If you're focused on outputs, it may feel like you're moving, but you're not. When you realize how useless the work is (or it's made null and void by a manager), you'll quickly become depressed at your wasted time. However, if you are given direction, all of the sudden the energy you exert is purposeful. As a manager, you should make the vision you have known so that work never feels useless. As an employee, you should recognize when you don't have direction and aim for it as quickly as possible. In addition, don't let that sap your energy—find a new initiative and attack it with full force. You can gain energy by giving yourself direction. In fact, this is your responsibility. Lead yourself.
On asking questions The best communicators do not communicate to everyone else to prove their points. Rather, they question the opposing viewpoint and allow it to break down if it is false. However, it could also turn out to be true, and the best stay open to those possibilities. Remember that negotiation is not about winning but discovering the truth of the matter. It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong at the beginning, it matters if you're right or wrong at the end. Chris Voss teaches about asking the right questions and using questions to mirror the other person in a conversation since it makes them more comfortable. Jesus does an excellent job of confronting tense situations with questions rather than declarations. Socrates developed an entire school of thought around asking questions. This is a form of communication you should master and pay more attention to, because you see the impact of it all around you.