Guest Post by Dave Jensen

In the last decade, I’ve listened to hundreds of senior executives speak to leaders in their organizations. These presentations were usually part of the guest speaker program built into our 3-5 day leadership seminar.

Most of the executives spent 45 minutes giving a presentation, followed by 15 minutes of audience questions. I rarely heard the executive ask any questions. What a missed opportunity? These senior executives had two dozen leaders captive for an hour and learned nothing about their leaders’ challenges, issues, or opportunities.


Too Many !s, Not Enough ?s

I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a presentation, followed by questions and answers. I am saying the presenter should ask some of those questions. The father of modern management, Peter Drucker, believed that the first objective of an executive is to understand reality. What better way to have a “reality check” than by asking questions?

Do you closely monitor your environment at work/home? Do you ask your coworkers and team members (at work and home) questions? Are you strong enough to doubt your perceptions? The founder of the National Speakers Association, Cavett Robert said, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” And how do people really know you care about them? They know you care when you care about what they care about! You demonstrate this caring by asking questions about what they care about.

How to Ask Leading Questions

Here are three practical ways to show your team members that you care about what they care about:

1. Schedule a brief one-on-one with individual team members once a week. During this five-minute meeting, ask them if there’s anything that gets in the way of their work, and how you might help.

2. Include a question and answer agenda item for all your meetings. Tell your team that the questions will go both ways. They will be invited to ask you questions and provide feedback by answering your questions.

3. Ask your team to write, nonstop for one minute, the answer to the following incomplete sentence: This would be an even greater place to work if… During your debriefing, write down the common themes that you can take action on. How surprised will you be when you discover how much more engaged and motivated your team is because you ask leading questions?

How could you adapt these approaches to ask your team questions? What other tools do you use to get others to share their concerns?

Dave Jensen and his team transform proven leadership tools into your success stories. Dave is an executive coach and an engaging speaker at conferences, meetings, and retreats. You can follow Dave’s Blog at:  Dave Jensen on Leadership  Dave and his team also provide a complimentary online 360-leadership assessment at:  eXpansive Leadership Model (XLM)  Dave can be reached in Los Angeles, CA at (310) 397-6686.

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