Excerpted from Leadology: 12 Ideas To Level Up Your Leadership by John Barrett
Here is a Leadership Tip:
One of the most empowering strategies a leader can use to listen and raise up others is to ask questions. A great leader spends the majority of their time asking rather than telling.
Just the other day, I was meeting with a friend of mine who is an engineer at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in America. As we were having dinner, he shared with me how he leads his team by asking three very insightful questions:
1) What is one thing I can do for you to help you with your job?
2) How well do you think you are doing in your role, based on feedback you have received?
3) What are your strengths and weaknesses, based on feedback you have received?
By asking these questions, he is able to lead his team more effectively. Instead of assuming he knows what to do for them; he asks them what they need from him. Instead of telling them how they are doing in their job performance, he first asks them how they think they are doing. Instead of creating a list of their strengths and weaknesses, he prompts them to discover who they are. When you ask your team questions it allows them to engage. If someone escapes a conversation without thinking for themselves, they will never improve their ability to solve problems and extract solutions.
Questions educate and develop. In fact, the word educate comes from the Latin word educo, meaning to draw out from within. The only way to truly educate others is to help them think for themselves. If you do all the thinking, all of the work, and all of the problem solving, you are not developing those around you. To help draw out the potential from within an individual, it takes leaders who educo others, meaning they challenge the individual to think for themselves. We have all heard the famous phrase, “Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Only a true leader could coin this phrase, because at the heart of leadership is an ability to draw out the gold from the mines within another. Empowerment comes from educating.
Always lead with questions more than you do answers.
Remember this truth:
And leadership is not so much about directing people as it is developing them. The more you develop your people, the higher you will go, they will go, and your organization will go!