Guest Post by JT Ayers

Sitting in the waiting room at my tax office, my eyes caught an interesting article from Inc Magazine. One of the articles highlighted on the front cover was “35 smart questions every leader needs to ask.” I choose my favorites to share with you today that are most applicable from my experiences in leadership.

Why This Is Important:

Leadership rarely goes as planned. Sometimes it may feel that you are putting out fires and just getting through the day more often then not. To grow in your leadership is the single greatest attribute of an effective and worthwhile leader. Asking the right questions will help you see beyond yourself and be more understanding of other perspectives.  The alternative to not growing in your leadership is thinking and saying the following:

  • The way I decide to do it is always the best way
  • I have been doing it this way for a long time and it has always worked

My assumption is that if you are reading this post you care about your leadership and you really don’t want to be the person that thinks the above statements. The following list is compiled from some of the most effective leaders today:

What is it like to work for me? (Robert Sutton, professor at Stanford)

What trophy do we want on our mantle? (Marcy Massura, MSL Group)

What counts that we are not counting? (Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality)

What did we miss in the interview for the worst hire we ever made?

In the past few months, what is the smallest change that we have made that has had the biggest positive result?  What was it about that small change that produced the large return? (Robert Cialdini, Arizona State University)

What prevents me from making the changes I know will make me a more effective leader? (Marshall Goldsmith, coach and author)

Are we changing as fast as the world around us? (Gary Hamel, author and consultant)

If no one would ever find out about my accomplishments, how would I lead differently? (Adam Grant, Wharton)

How likely is it that a customer would recommend our company to a friend or colleague? (Andrew Taylor, Enterprise Holdings)

What one word do we want to own in the minds of our customers, employees and partners? (Matthew May, author)

What am I trying to prove to myself and how might it be hijacking my life and business success? (Bob Rosen, coach and author)

If I got fired and the Board brought in a new CEO, what would he (she) do first? (Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel)

What do we stand for – and what are we against?

If I had to leave my organization for one year and the only communication I could have with my employees was a single paragraph, what would I write? (Pat Lencioni, author and founder of The Table Group)

What should we stop doing? (Peter Drucker, author)

Who have we, as a company, historically been when we’ve been at our best? (Ketih Yamashita, founder of SYPartners)

What are the implications of this decision 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years from now?

Do we have the right people on the bus? (Jim Collins, author and consultant)

Take a minute or two this week and spend some time asking yourself some of these questions. What do you plan to do in light of some of the questions you are now asking yourself?

JT AyersJT Ayers is the founder of CoachAyers.com and FirebarkMedia.com. He has been a teacher and coach for over 8 years in Southern CA and was Orange County Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2013. 

 

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