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Questions the ultimate leadership tool

by Aug 25, 2023Leadership, Small Business Leaders

Questions the ultimate leadership tool

Ever feel you’re not getting the full story on information you’ve requested from others? As a leader in your organization, the complete picture is essential. It’s your job to get answers by knowing how and what to ask.

The value of questions

A leader who asks demonstrates the willingness to learn, a sincere desire to serve, and the humility to inspire an organization. Questions can focus on new ideas, create new ways of doing things, and help us admit that we don’t have all the answers. 

Often, leaders ask the wrong type of questions. They can come across as condensing and disempowering to subordinates. The point is that it isn’t that we don’t ask questions, but often not the right questions.

Leaders who utilize question strategies realize the value of empowering others and strengthening organizations. Questions can develop teams, organizations, and ourselves. 

Great questions help define influential leaders.

Google did a study called Project Oxygen to determine what makes a leader great. The study showed ten traits that were common among great leaders. They found the number one trait was questioning and listening. Asking rather than telling has become the key to excellence in leadership.

What happens when leaders don’t bother to ask questions?

Remember the Titanic?

questions the ultimate leadership tool

Why did this tragedy happen? Could a leader ask better questions?

  • In 1912, fourteen hundred passengers died in this tragic mishap.
  • The Titanic wasn’t unsinkable as anticipated.
  • Why were there not enough lifeboats? Not enough for 2224 passengers, 
  • Why couldn’t the planners and builders have foreseen a potential tragedy? Who was the leader? The quality of the metal that held the walls together was questionable. The construction was rushed. 
  • The ship was traveling at high speed despite repeated ice warnings.
  • Why were the binoculars locked in a storage closet, and no one had the key?

Was there not a leader who asked questions before the maiden voyage?

How you can become a leader who asks more questions.

  1. Start by being more aware of the questions you’re currently asking. Effective questioning comes from a concerted effort.
  • Try an experiment by not asking questions for 2-3 hours. The value of doing this is that it will focus your thinking on the importance of asking questions.
  • Silently ask yourself more questions. When you become more aware of your thinking about questions, you can shape them more intentionally.
  • Encourage collaborative thinking. Invite your staff and teams to ask you questions. Creating an environment of safety where employees can feel free to ask questions.
  • Before asking others a question, consider what you want your question to accomplish.

Be sure to check out my other blog posts on related subjects, including how to have difficult conversations.

About Henry:
Henry is a Leadership Coach and Mentor. He helps Owners and Executive Leaders develop their teams to grow their business so they can have more time, more results and more money. To learn more, Henry offers a FREE discovery call  check out the details on this website.