One of the most underrated skills that can get you ahead in the workplace is the ability to ask great questions. You might feel like doing this will mark you out as someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, or someone who is needy or just plain annoying, but a well-chosen question at the right time to the right person can really make a good impression as well as helping you avoid getting stuck on a tricky problem.
Research has shown that people who ask good questions at work can be seen as more likable and competent by their peers and bosses. For example, in a one-to-one with your manager, you could really impress them by asking what one thing you could be doing that would make their lives easier, or what task they most need help with at the moment. These questions show them that you’re interested in more than your own task list and are on their side.
When things aren’t going so well and you’ve received some negative feedback, you can also ask important questions, like requesting time to process it rather than reacting immediately or asking for clarification that can help you understand and fix whatever has gone wrong. There’s plenty of situations at work that can be improved with the right question, so why not have a look and see what you can ask next time they occur?