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The best question…

December 20, 2016

wedding pic free dig photoI’ve asked lots of questions in my life, but ten years ago this week, I asked the best question of my life. I asked Sarah, “Will  you be my wife?” (Amazingly, she said yes!)

Increasingly, I realize as a leader I should be asking more questions before sharing my opinions, expertise or rationale regarding a topic.

Leaders ask questions… to find out information. Contrary to some people’s opinion, leaders do not know everything. More often than a leader wants to admit, they simply don’t know. Ask questions to gain knowledge. Instead of showing yourself ignorant, a leader actually demonstrates vulnerability, openness, and a collaborative spirit by asking questions.

Leaders ask questions… rather than make accusations. Your suspicion about a colleagues’ may be correct, but instead of making a statement that possibly ascribes foolishness or false motives to the person, ask a question? If there is a reasonable explanation, you have saved yourself embarassment. If your negative assumption was accurate,  you will find out without sounding like you expected an excuse.

Leaders ask questions… to help people think differently. As a leader, you may be ahead of your team in thinking about future applications or implications of a decision. You may even be able to project forthcoming challenges with a situation. However, rather than take the opportunity to share your great knowledge and insight, asking a question will help your team think more broadly about the issue. By engaging in a discussion, you will not be handing down an autocratic decision.

How else have you found asking questions beneficial to your leadership?

What is the best question you have ever asked?

 

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