Guest Post by Janice Bastani
What are the #1 Questions for your Team?
What do you think the question is?
What’s the big deal?
What stops us from being #1?
Is it a person?
Or is it something inside of you?
Maybe an attitude or a fear?
A doubt or a belief?
Well let’s just be up front and honest here; simply look in the mirror and you will see the biggest problem staring back at you and it is yourself! I know it is hard to take that good long hard look and see that the problem is M-E! and YES it is! Learning to Lead myself is the hardest lesson and job you or I will ever have! It is the most difficult aspect of leadership today, whether we admit it or not.
Being a Good Leader is all about asking the right question at the right time to the right person and I think any leader has learned this the hard way. Asking Questions seems fundamental and almost juvenile, but you might be surprised at how few leaders actually ask any questions at all. Why do I think something so simple can make such a big difference? Because of what it does inside of you.
The simple act of asking the right questions of the right people can provide crucial information, offer clarity and help you make better decisions. That process begins with the questions you ask yourself. It continues with the questions you ask others. When you ask the right questions of people on your team, it not only gives the above benefits, it can also improve your connection with them and demonstrate your openness and teachability. In my coaching practice, “teachability” is a key marker I encourage all my leaders to look for in their “inner circle” people and in their key leaders in their organizations.
In John Maxwell’s newest book, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, John shares the eleven questions he continually asks members of his team. One of these questions is: “What do you think?” Now if you are a business leader, this may or may not be a question that you ask on a daily basis, much less frequently. For me as a coach, I am constantly asking the question: “What Do You Think?”
As “LEADERS” when we ask people what they think, at different times we may do it for different reasons. Some of those are:
Sometimes the question is as straightforward as it sounds. We simply want good information. We often need information from those closest to us and that would be from those in our inner circle, those whom we value very highly. Every person is not only talented and capable, but also a good thinker. Often we ask what they think because we know we can learn from them. They are like an extension of us.
One of John Maxwell’s sayings is this: “Leaders see more than others see and see things before others do.” Having leadership gifting is often like having a head start in a race. But obviously leaders don’t see everything. One of the jobs as a leader is to piece these bits of information together into a complete picture so as a good leader we can each make good decisions.
Confirming My Intuition
Good Leaders have a strong sense intuition. We are all intuitive in our areas of strength. If you think you know something, but you’re not sure why, what can you do to validate your belief? Ask someone you trust. To verify that what you’re sensing is correct, Ask leaders you respect what they think. Their answers often put words to your feelings and confirm your initial intuition, giving you greater certainty as you plan or make decisions.
Assessing Someone’s Judgment or Leadership
When new people join your team, ask them what they think. For example, if you’re in meetings ask what they observed and get their opinion on what happened. It will help you learn if they read the room right. Or if you and your team are strategizing, ask the new team member how they think the team should proceed. This is the fastest way to assess people’s thinking and observe their abilities.
Processing a Decision
Sometimes people need a number of different perspectives in order to discover the best choice. And sometimes they need time and reflection to process a decision. That may be true for you and for the members of your team. Sometimes they have needed to move not only you along and convince you of a decision they believe in. Sometimes it’s the other way around, and you will need to give them time to come around. Then give and take is very healthy.
Asking the question “What do you think?” will allow you to lead your organization better than you could have if had relied only on yourself.
Tonight when you wash your face and brush your teeth before bed, look back into the mirror and ask the Leader staring back at you:
“Hey, how did you do today?”