21 Apr Great Leaders Ask Great Questions
I confess that as a CEO I am always looking for answers to my questions. What are we doing to fix this issue? Where are we on that deal? Have we done such and such for the client? But Bob Tiede, author of the book Great Leaders Ask Questions, challenged my approach to finding the answers. It’s not just asking questions; I need to ask the right questions.
“I can teach you to lead with questions in 30-seconds,” says Bob Tiede of Cru. “Start by asking, ‘What do you think?’ Followed by, ‘What else, what else and what else?’” Often as leaders we feel we have to have all of the answers, but that is not good leadership. Good leadership is asking the right questions. Bob says when you ask your staff what they think about the situation, you are inviting them to be a part of the solution. So rather than just one person solving the task at hand, the entire staff gets involved.
Starting off with positive questions brings out positive endorphins and more honest responses...
Bob also told me the story of a consultant who gets paid a handsome six-figure salary to help companies solve problems. But when the consultant shows up, his first question for the staff is always, “What is working?” Followed by, “Tell me more, why is it working?” Starting off with positive questions brings out positive endorphins and more honest responses when you get the question, “Now tell me what is not working?”
Another great tip that Bob offered was how to ask for an update on a project. Instead of asking, “Have you finished with the project yet?” Ask, “Have you made progress on the project?” That allows your staff to report on the progress they have made, rather than feeling bad that the project is not completed.
The key is to make your staff feel important. I have felt from day one that my job as a CEO is to equip my staff for success. Now I know of a better way to ask questions. So let me ask you, “Have you made progress on asking your staff great questions?”
Bob Tiede has written several books, including: Now That’s A Great Question and Great Leaders Ask Questions: A Fortune 100 List. You can connect with Bob on Twitter and LinkedIn via @bobtiede, on Facebook via @leadingwithquestions, and sign up for his weekly blog www.livingwithquestions.com.
Scott Miller is the CEO of Centerpost Media and host of the Create, Build and Manage Radio Show and Podcast. You can find Scott on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via “@scottmillerceo.” Centerpost Media is a marketing agency with a vision to help every business they encounter with their media needs by providing outstanding quality, service and value. Centerpost Media is the parent company to BizTV, BizTalkRadio, BizTalkPodcasts and Bizvod.