Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers. ~Robert Half
Even though most business leaders have years of experience and confidence in their knowledge and abilities, knowing that they don’t always have the answers is a critical skill all great leaders must develop. They not only need to ask the right questions of their employees, vendors, clients, partners but they also need to constantly question how they can improve their own performance and way of doing things and be open to suggestions.
The leader’s approach to asking questions should inspire deeper thinking, creativity, and curiosity in their employees. Instead of telling them what to do, provide direction if needed, but more importantly, ask questions and have dialogue that will allow more junior leaders to come up with their own ideas about how projects can be improved. By doing this, they will learn more and take more ownership of their projects. It is also good to question how a project could have been accomplished more efficiently after it is completed. Many times everyone moves onto the next project without spending the time providing constructive feedback.
Great leaders also need to ask questions about their organizations as whole systems. They need to constantly look for ways that the entire organization can function more effectively. Are the right processes in place? Can any processes be improved, and how should these improvements be accomplished? How do we retain stellar performers and give them challenges to keep them motivated? How do we compete with other companies? Knowing how to ask these questions in constructive and non-threatening ways is a critical skill for leaders.
Are you asking the right questions? Do you question things even if your organization is running smoothly? When was the last time you asked for feedback?
Other “Q” words to ponder – Quality and Quantitative.