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"That's a good question": judge role

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Hello guys,

I noticed that when somebody asks a question. If you say: "that's a good question" then you're taking the judge role as you answer.

What do you think?

Cheers!

I think it's commonly used several  ways :

  1. to buy a bit of time to think
  2. To control your reaction i.e. distance yourself emotionally from your response (e.g. if you get a hostile question)
  3. As a foundation to build a bit of rapport.  You can say why its a good question - i.e. walk in their shoes a little bit before answering
Lucio Buffalmano and Ali Scarlett have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoAli Scarlett

I'm on the same page as Transitioned.
I use a few phrases similar to "That's a good question" when being asked a question like

  • Let me try to understand that question a bit further.
  • Give me some time to understand that.
  • That's an interesting question which I potentially may not have the answer to at the moment.
Lucio Buffalmano, Ali Scarlett and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettTransitioned

I'm on the same page as both Transitioned and Matthew, but also agree with John.

I'd say that in many circumstances there is a component of judge power move in "that's a good question", and how much it's judge power move depends on the situation, how it's said... And how you receive it (remember that thread on the 3 levels of judge role we once discussed? Must find it again and update the lesson/article).

In any case, the person who says "that's a good question" is usually the one with more authority / power.
It takes someone who knows more and/or has enough power or confidence to be able to judge how "good" someone's question is.

And if they overdo it, it can also become disempowering for you.
Just imagine for example:

That's a very good question, sounds like you're a smart guy

Yeah, it's a compliment but... Who the hell are you to assess how smart or not smart I am?

Matthew Whitewood and selffriend have reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewoodselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Matthew what do think of modifying it to be a bit more assertive:

"Give me some time to understand that" becomes "Can you explain that a bit" or " can you drill down on that a bit" or "can you give me a bit more context"

And "That's an interesting question which I potentially may not have the answer to at the moment." becomes

"That's an interesting question.  I ll ask my team to look into that."

 

Thanks Transitioned.
More possibilities as responses.

I could say

Give me some time to understand that. (pause; see if he elaborates)
(if he doesn't)

Can you explain that a bit?

Maybe this could work.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 21, 2021, 12:14 am

(remember that thread on the 3 levels of judge role we once discussed? Must find it again and update the lesson/article).

I do recall.
I have to find that again as well.
I found that very insightful.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 21, 2021, 12:14 am

In any case, the person who says "that's a good question" is usually the one with more authority / power.
It takes someone who knows more and/or has enough power or confidence to be able to judge how "good" someone's question is.

And if they overdo it, it can also become disempowering for you.
Just imagine for example:

That's a very good question, sounds like you're a smart guy

Yeah, it's a compliment but... Who the hell are you to assess how smart or not smart I am?

That makes sense man.
Now I'm thinking about this.
Sometimes people try to gain small power over you gradually via these comments.

If I feel that there is a power element to "good question", I may respond with

Him: That's a good question.

Me: Yes, I wanted to know your thoughts about this.

Compliments - Disempowering or Empowering

Sometimes I have problems telling whether compliments are from a disempowering or empowering frame.
I usually find generic compliments to be more power-driven.
Like adding the "you're a smart guy" behind.

I think Lucio's concept of self-framing helps a bit.
Does this compliment frame the person giving it as a judge?
Or is he giving you power by giving the compliment?

Or both like in the outset of Power University:

Thank you and congratulations!

Transitioned has reacted to this post.
Transitioned

I think this one deserves a snapshot summary make it a bit more actionable.

Lucio, you're welcome to kill this post if you disagree.

So far we ve covered:

  1. What the play is
  2. Why people might say it
  3. When it might be a power move
  4. Different ways of using it
  5. One counter

Yeah, I'd just add to:

  1. feel free to keep delivering that line
  2. keep in mind who and how it's delivered before you call it a one-upping, power-sapping power move

As long as you got good intentions and you use it when indeed you're the one with more authority / knowledge / power, then it's all good.

And if the person who uses against you does have more authority / knowledge / power and he says it in a way that feels more like a compliment or a neutral statement, then chances are it's all good and you don't need to defend.

As a matter of fact, if you ask something within a group and the group leader / professor / whoever is doing the explaining tells you "good question" in front of everyone, chances are you are gaining some status in that group.

Transitioned has reacted to this post.
Transitioned
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 21, 2021, 4:39 pm

As a matter of fact, if you ask something within a group and the group leader / professor / whoever is doing the explaining tells you "good question" in front of everyone, chances are you are gaining some status in that group.

Just today I had a similar experience.

We were hiking with a small group (random bragging picture below), and:

Guide: Water flows from the higher ground all around ...
Me: Is this place at risk for flash floods?
Guide: Good! Very good observation. Yes, it is at risk of flash floods, and it's one of the reasons...

In a way, the guide was judging me, and by judging me, he also confirmed himself "above me". And since I also felt good about his reward, there was an element of judge power dynamics there.

BUT... in everyone's eyes the guide was already above me within the hiking group, and he was the leader of the group. So there was no loss of status in thos circumstances. Instead, by complimenting/rewarding me in front of everyone he elevated my status quite a bit.

Now the people around will think "Lucio can think well, or maybe he's got some hiking outdoor knowledge. And probably the leader likes him for complimenting him so publicly".

And that gave me some status boost.
It was value-adding, not value-subtracting.

lucio buffalmano hiking

And the bigger the leader's authority, the bigger the group respect for the leader, and the bigger the difference between the leader and you, the more the "great question" move is value-adding.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Nothing like a hike up the hills or the mountains!
I do feel like going for a walk after your sharing!

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 22, 2021, 3:10 am
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on March 21, 2021, 4:39 pm

As a matter of fact, if you ask something within a group and the group leader / professor / whoever is doing the explaining tells you "good question" in front of everyone, chances are you are gaining some status in that group.

And the bigger the leader's authority, the bigger the group respect for the leader, and the bigger the difference between the leader and you, the more the "great question" move is value-adding.

I can see this concept more clearly from this example. Thanks for sharing!
If you would like to accept the leadership and authority of the person, you can accept his reward from a judge role, and it can be value-adding.

But if you would like to challenge the leadership, you should not accept the reward.
Or in cases where you are the one who should have the authority, you should not accept "good question" from the person.

My Own Personal Example

I'm not sure whether in my case, it's value-adding or value-substracting.
This is my business partner, so he's not really an authority.

Him: I got a response from a cold-outreach.
Let me know if you have any good questions to ask.

Me: Here are questions which I think we should ask.
(list of questions)

Him: This don't really fit.

Me: Can you clarify the interaction?

Him: I will show a screenshot.
(shows a screenshot)

Me: I understand this better.
Here are a list of questions.

Him: All good questions Matthew.

OFF-TOPIC

I may seem like hi-jacking the thread or discussion by sharing a personal example right after Lucio's example of John's thread.
We could ignore this if this is the case.
And I could open up another thread.

OFF-TOPIC

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Lucio Buffalmano
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