Guest Post by Leo J. Lampinen

I was inspired by the power of leading with questions from my friend Bob Tiede, who started blogging after discovering the book “Leading With Questions” by Michael Marquardt. Since then, I have been conscious about asking more questions in my daily life to invoke creativity and innovation and to inspire my team members to realize some avenues they have not considered before.

In business and in life you should be open to asking your own powerful questions. Asking the right questions helps us to move towards the direction we desire to go. The questions you ask should be open-ended, which means there is no limited set of answers for each. Refrain from asking those questions which provide a quick answer. You want to be able to provide a well thought out answer for each.

4 Questions Leaders Should Ask During the First Quarter

1.  Do we know what our ‘why’ is? Have we strayed from that?

You should always start with the ‘why’. Define this as the guiding north star that you can always reference when it is time to get clarity. It is important to know ‘why’ you are doing what you are doing. This is the basis for everything that follows and the progression down the road. Once you figure out your ‘why’, you can focus on the ‘how’.

2.  Is what I’m doing today setting my team up for success throughout and at the end of the year?

It is the leader’s job to make the team successful. It is important to know and realize that the actions you take everyday are getting them closer to the goal. The first quarter of the year is the most important time to set your focus for how you want to look back on the year’s events at the end of the last quarter.

3.  Will my team be grateful for how we are progressing?

Are you paying attention to the mood of your team members? Be conscious about how and when you deliver recognition. Your team is ultimately not going to be successful if they are not rewarded for the work that was accomplished. Additionally, if you let the ship drift off course and the team knows it but is afraid to speak up, they aren’t likely to work very hard toward any of the goals because they can see their ultimate demise while you have your back turned.

4.  Have I made it clear to my team that feedback is welcomed and appreciated?

There is nothing worse than working with the feeling of accomplishment then coming to find out you were going in the wrong direction or not focusing in the right areas. Make it clear to your team that you need their input throughout in order for success to be had. Be approachable and listen to each concern. You won’t be able to spot every inconsistency on your own.

I encourage you to hold these Q & A (Question and Analysis) sessions often. Always be thinking of powerful and effective questions you should be asking that drive your team towards great success.

What are some of the powerful questions you and your team are addressing this quarter?


Leo J. Lampinen is passionate about the study and practice of personal and effective servant leadership. He contributes on the topic of leadership weekly at and on his own site at


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