Leaders are reluctant to ask the questions that will help them make better decisions or solve problems more efficiently/effectively-thus is the premise of a wonderful book I discovered some time ago: Leading with Questions by Michael Marquardt. Refuting the myth that asking questions is a sign of weak leadership, he argues that asking questions is “an underused management tool”. I couldn’t agree more! I have observed leaders operating from the false assumption that because they hold the title of ‘leader’, they must have all the answers!
Not taking time to ask good questions results in missing a broader/more diverse perspective of a current issue…there is always more than ‘one right answer’! In addition, the ability to manage conflict is lessened. Research has shown that when all perspectives are shared with all parties participating in the conversation, common ground can be established.
The two most important benefits of asking good questions? Becoming a better listener and increasing self awareness are key elements to effective leadership! Listening without judgment and truly gaining an understanding of others’ perspectives leads to self-reflection……and asking better questions….
Asking questions is a sign of strong leadership! Thus,when a leader asks me for advice on how to become more effective,I suggest he/she learn/use these two powerful words: What and How