Why Should Leaders “Ask Questions?”

Guest Post by Simon Sinek

I used to have a boss a long time ago who never answered a single question I asked. He only replied with questions. And because of it, he got better work out of me, he stayed informed and he taught me self-reliance. No matter what I asked him, he’d always reply: “What do you think we should do?” Sometimes he’d ask if I’d considered certain circumstances or impacts — but he never gave me an answer — he always helped me find the answer myself. He was a great leader.

Gauging the quality of a leader

The quality of a leader cannot be judged by the answers he gives, but by the questions he asks. Leadership is not about always being right, it’s about finding the right answers. And finding the right answers can only come when you involve others. The reason is simple: You only know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know. The reason a leader needs to ask questions — and lots of them — is to gain more information, learn more and hear other perspectives. Only then can the best decisions be made.

Knowing how to ask questions is not as easy as it sounds. Many people ask leading questions — questions designed to elicit the answer they want. “What do you think of option A?” is a leading question. “What do you think is the best option?” is not.

Great leaders ask questions!

Great leaders all know they don’t know everything and never try to prove they do. They don’t mind if it is their idea or someone else’s idea that gets implemented as long as it is the best idea that moves forward. They stay smart by surrounding themselves with people who are smarter and know more about certain subjects than they do. Again, great leaders don’t know all the answers; they are the ones who know how to inspire others to help them find the best answers.

Asking questions is a remarkable tool and it should be used as often as possible, not just when a decision needs to be made.

 

Simon Sinek

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Simon Sinek  is a trained ethnographer and author of Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Sinek has held a life-long curiosity for why people and organizations do the things they do. Fascinated by the leaders and companies that make the greatest impact in the world, those with the capacity to inspire, he has discovered some remarkable patterns of how they think, act and communicate. He has devoted his life to sharing his thinking in order to help other leaders and organizations inspire action.

Simon’s blog is:  www.simonsinek.com

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One thought on “Why Should Leaders “Ask Questions?”

  1. Great reminder. Thank you Bob

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