Lead By Asking

I have a question. What is a powerful leadership tool that can enhance team dynamics, promote growth, and drive success?

Good leaders are good communicators and good communicators are good listeners.

Good leaders must ask their teammates and other stakeholders questions to give those people the opportunity to voice their dreams, opinions, suggestions, and concerns.

Questions are a great tool that leaders must wield. Leaders must ask open-ended questions that will elicit a thoughtful response. Asking questions that require a yes or no answer is not very effective in terms of reaping the benefits that open-ended questions provide.

Leaders asking open-ended questions can be immensely beneficial for several reasons:

    1. Encourages critical thinking: When leaders ask questions, it prompts their team members to think deeply about issues and consider different perspectives. This fosters critical thinking skills within the team.
    2. Fosters creativity and innovation: Questions can spark creativity by challenging the status quo and encouraging new ideas. By asking open-ended questions, leaders can inspire innovative solutions to problems.
    3. Promotes learning and development: Asking questions creates a culture of continuous learning within the team. It allows team members to share their knowledge and expertise, fostering personal and professional development.
    4. Builds trust and engagement: When leaders ask for input and genuinely listen to their team members’ responses, it demonstrates trust and respect. This fosters a sense of belonging and engagement within the team.
    5. Improves communication: Asking questions encourages clear and effective communication. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and that any potential misunderstandings are addressed promptly.
    6. Drives decision-making: By asking probing questions, leaders can gather the necessary information to make informed decisions. This helps avoid assumptions and ensures that decisions are based on data and insights.
    7. Empowers and motivates: When leaders ask questions, it empowers their team members to voice their opinions and ideas. This can boost morale and motivation, as team members feel valued and heard.
    8. Leaders can emphasize priorities by asking the right questions. For example, if customer service is a priority leaders can ask what employees are doing to enhance customer loyalty. If the company intends to be a low-cost provider leaders can ask teammates what they are doing to reduce costs.

Leaders must prepare to ask the right questions. Prior to a staff meeting and prior to circulating throughout the organization, leaders must think about the questions they should ask in order to generate discussions that will be helpful to organizational goals. However, leaders must be careful not to sound scripted and should adapt the questions and conversations to situations as they surface.

Effective organizational cultures create a feeling where people feel that they belong, are included, and that their opinion is valued. When leaders take the time to ask thoughtful questions, they begin to create such a culture.

About John Gronski

Major General John L. Gronski (U.S. Army Retired) is the founder and CEO of Leader Grove LLC, a leadership consulting firm. John is the author of two books, “Iron-Sharpened Leadership” and “The Ride of Our Lives” and is an international and Fortune 500 speaker. Learn more about John at https://johngronski.com/

Continue To Learn

Visit John Gronski’s website, JohnGronski.com to access free leadership development resources including a downloadable leadership pamphlet, John’s YouTube Channel, and John’s leadership blog.

There are also leadership development resources you can invest in by going to Store.LeaderGrove.com – You can purchase John’s books which include “Iron-Sharpened Leader” and “The Ride of Our Lives”. John created a great online leadership development program. You can purchase online leadership development courses including Cultivating Trust, Introduction to Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Management, and Introduction to Change Leadership. Once you complete a course, take a short quiz, attain an 80% score, and download a certificate of completion.

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