How Might You Become a More Effective Leader?

Originally Posted @ Careers in Government

A Leader Who Leads With Questions Will Often Be 10x More Effective Than a Leader Who Only Leads by Telling!

How is this possible?

First, a Question:

Looking at the photo above, if this is your team in this canoe and there are oars for everyone and you want to get this canoe across the lake as quickly as possible, how many of your team members would you like to row with you?

All of them, of course!

Now, Picture This: 

Imagine that this is your same team—all seated around your conference table—and there is an “opportunity” on the table.  (Please read this next question carefully) If you are a leader like I once was, who thinks it is your job to figure out how to take advantage of this opportunity and their job is to then do what you tell them to do, how many “Mental Oars” are in the water?

Yes—Only One—Yours!

Now, imagine that this is your same team – all seated around your conference table—and there is an “opportunity” on the table.  You are a leader who Leads With Questions,  so you lean forward, look around the table—make eye contact with everyone on your team—and ask, “What do you all think we might do to take advantage of this opportunity?”  now how many “Mental Oars” might be in the water?

Yes—All of them! 

As your team members start sharing their ideas, is it possible you hear ideas better than anything you were thinking?

While not a guarantee—the odds are—with all your team members contributing their ideas you might just hear ideas better than your own!

Now, Imagine This:

Sitting across the table from you is Felicia.  When Felicia shares her idea you think, “Wow, that is an incredible idea! So much better than anything I was thinking!”  So you lean forward and say, “Felicia!  Wow!  That is an incredible idea!  Love It!  Felicia, would you be willing to lead our whole team in executing your idea?”

How hard will Felicia Work?   She will give it everything she’s got!  Why?  Because it is her idea! 

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Leader Who Leads With Questions?

You go first. What do you think are or will be the benefits of becoming a Leader Who Leads With Questions? 

 Here are some additional benefits:

  • You will grow your questioning skills
  • Improve your decision making
  • Your staff will feel valued
  • You will grow your listening skills
  • You will hear ideas you have not thought of
  • Your staff will feel increased ownership of the ideas they are executing
  • Your staff will develop greater self-confidence
  • Your staff will have an increased sense of camaraderie
  • Asking questions will become natural
  • You will develop leaders

 Final Question:

So now, going forward, are you going to choose to be less effective and Lead by Telling? OR, will you choose to become a more effective leader by Leading With Questions?

Bob Tiede


Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.


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