The Art of Listening and The Art of Answering Questions

I usually stay in the Virgin Atlantic Lounge at Terminal 4 of JFK International Airport in New York in order to wait for my Singapore Airlines flight from JFK back to Frankfurt. Since the lounge has moved close to the gate it is really convenient to stay there. Last Saturday on my way back home I had plenty of time and I asked the lady at the front desk if from her experience of the last couple of days Singapore Airlines will board on time.

Her: “We will call the flight.”
Me: “That’s fine, but that was not my question.”
Her: “You asked me if Singapore usually boards on time.”
Me: “Exactly.”
Her: “It varies: sometimes yes, sometimes not.”
Me: “Really?” – Since this discussion led to nowhere, I waited until the flight was called (on time by the way).

Leadership lesson: Listen to a question and don’t just give someone an answer. Give someone an answer to a question they really asked. And, please, don’t say something like “it could be that way or it could be the other way.”