Leaders Ask Questions

Excerpted with permission from Chapter 5 of “Thrown In: Ready or Not, You Are the Leader” by Mark Bowser

A COUPLE OF nights later, Digger joined Andrew and his family for dinner at the Steele home. “Thanks for inviting me, Mrs. Steele,” said Digger.

“Oh, you are welcome, Mr. Jones. And please call me Laura. Andrew has said so much about you that I feel like I have known you for years like an uncle.”

“I like that, Laura. You can call me Digger, or Uncle Digger if you prefer,” said the old man with a sparkle in his eyes. “

Uncle Digger it is. Uncle Digger, I would like to introduce you to our children. This handsome young man is Mike, and he is 5 years old, and this beautiful little princess is Carrie, and she is 3 years old.”

Digger leaned over and held out his hand to Mike. “How do you do, young sir?” And he shook Mike’s hand. Digger then turned to Carrie and said, “It is my honor, young miss,” as he shook her hand, too.

Digger then looked at both of them. “Let me ask the two of you a question, and here it is. Did you ask a good question today?”

The two Steele children looked at him with puzzlement on their faces. Their parents wore the same puzzled face. “No, I am serious,” said Digger to all of them. “Did you ask a good question today? I tell you what, when we sit down to eat, I will tell you a little story.”

After a few minutes, Laura called them all to the table. “Mike, did you wash your hands?” A sheepish frown came over the little boy’s face as he looked at his mother. “Well, you know what to do,” said Laura. “Make it quick. We are waiting for you.”

After Andrew led them in saying grace, he looked at Digger. “All right, Dig, I can hardly wait to hear your story.”

“What story is that, Andrew?” asked Digger.

“You know, the one about asking questions.”

“Oh yeah. I almost forgot about that. Well, anyway, in 1944, Isidor Isaac Rabi was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on atomic nuclei. He was a nuclear physicist. “After his acceptance speech, he was asked about some of the key points of his life. In particular, what were the greatest influences that made the biggest difference for him? Isidor spoke about growing up in Brooklyn, New York, and one of the key moments of his life happened every night. He explained that most of his friends were asked by their parents what they had learned in school that day. But not his mom. She asked him a very different question. Every day when he arrived home from school, his mom would ask him, ‘Izzy, did you ask a good question today?’ You see, that is a very different question,” said Digger.

“Isidor said that question from his mom every day helped him develop a curiosity which birthed his academic success and, later on, his success in physics.”

Looking right at Mike and Carrie, Digger said, “Kids, always remember that questions open the door to your success.”

“Dig, that is a great story,” said Andrew. “I can see how that is a great focus for leaders, too.”

“Absolutely,” said Digger. “Leaders get things accomplished not on an island by themselves but through people. Learning and making it a habit to ask yourself and your team questions is a huge key to influence and creative breakthroughs. No solution is revealed until the question is asked.”

“What kind of questions should a leader ask themselves?” asked Laura.

“That is a very good question in and of itself,” Digger teased. But, seriously, here are some of the most important questions that, in my opinion, a leader can ask themselves on a consistent basis:

What did I learn today?

What difference did I make today?

What questions did I ask today?

What did I improve today?

What are my goals today?

What is the most important thing for me to work on today?

What is my plan for tomorrow?

“And that is just a sampling of the most important questions.”

“Excuse me,” said Andrew as he stood up.

“Where are you going, Honey?” asked Laura.

“I will only be a minute. I want to write these thoughts and questions down so I don’t forget them.”

“Good man,” said Digger.

Note from Bob:  Click HERE to purchase your “Thrown In: Ready or Not, You Are the Leader”  book by Mark Bowser today.

Mark Bowser


Since 1993, Mark Bowser has been one of the top Professional Speakers in the United States.  He is an expert in Sales, Leadership, and Customer Service. Mark is the author of several books including Sales Success with Zig Ziglar, Jesus, Take the Wheel, Some Gave It All with Danny Lane, and Nehemiah on Leadership. His most recent book is the leadership book
Thrown In. Mark can be reached at  MarkBowser.com and on LinkedIn


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