Leadership is About Questions

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Leadership is About Questions

Guest Post by Greg Richardson

Answers make me comfortable.

I enjoy solving the mystery, working out the solution, completing the puzzle. I like to figure out the story before the storyteller finishes it.

Getting an answer, especially the right answer, makes me feel like I have accomplished something.

I really appreciate it when people bring their questions to me and I help them find answers. That, in some ways, is even better than answering my own questions.

For a long time, I cared more about answers than about questions.

I realized, though, that when I put the final piece in a puzzle, I stop. Why continue when you already have the answer? Questions, on the other hand, are often what get me started in the first place.

The leaders who inspire me appreciate and ask questions, and listen to how I respond. They do not usually ask me for some specific bit of information, although I am pretty good with dates and names. They tend to ask “Why?” very often, along with “How could we do that?” about new ideas.

They often ask questions that do not lead to clear, distinct answers. Their questions encourage me to explore, and to ask questions of my own.

The leaders who inspire me do not ask me questions to test me. They share their own questions with me and we wonder together.

Asking contains the power to engage people. Good questions bring people together with a common purpose and goal. When I tell you the answer I have decided is correct, it reinforces that I am in control. When I ask you an honest question, it creates the opportunity for us to work together to recognize how we both answer it.

What questions do you have?

Does your leadership appreciate questions?

What is your favorite question today?

Greg Richardson is a leadership and organizational coach, and a spiritual life mentor, in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about listening and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive, and university professor. Greg’s website is StrategicMonk.com and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk.
You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com.

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