“But I want to focus on why questioning is a particularly important tool for introverts. Indeed, asking questions is the quiet person’s secret weapon—if we can learn to appreciate and exploit that gift more than we might already. I’ve studied hundreds of successful artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs known for their curiosity and questioning acumen. Most are humble, thoughtful, and reflective, as well as keen observers and good listeners. These qualities help innovators be more attentive and aware, which in turn enables them to formulate better questions about the world around them—and those questions often drive their creativity.”
Berger, Warren. (2018). The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead. New York, NY. Bloomsbury Publishing.
Questions are indeed powerful, but unfortunately we have been conditioned to not ask questions. Think about when you were a child and full of curiosity and a desire to learn. What has happened since then? Often through the educational system that encourages you to sit down and be quiet while the teacher dispenses knowledge to the insecure bosses who perceive questions as being challenges to authority we have had the desire to question suppressed until it is now habit.
Regain that childlike curiosity and learn to ask questions once again – you will be better and so will the people around you.
Much is written about how to use questions to lead; about how leaders need to be asking the right questions of those they lead.
However, one key aspect of leadership, is answering questions for the people that you are leading. In one of my favorite organizational health books, The Advantage, my favorite organizational health / business author, Patrick Lencioni, lists “Six Critical Questions”. These six questions must be answered by leaders of organizations for their followers if they want to optimize the performance of their organization.
Why do we exist?
How do we behave?
What do we do?
How will we succeed?
What is most important, right now?
Who must do what?
So, how are you answering those questions for your organization?
Well, I am back in the South today, enjoying sunshine and some warmer weather!
Life Action is having its semi-annual Board of Directors’ Meeting with our annual Vision Gathering after the Board meeting, so I may not be posting much the rest of the week. We’ll se how it goes.
The Board of Directors for a ministry is hugely important – more so than we often realize. So if you are a leader in a nonprofit ministry, then you need to pay careful attention to your board. At Life Action we are blessed. We have godly people from across the country and Canada who are also respected professionals in their field. First and foremost though is that they love the Lord. They are people of great character and to the person are humble.
When you go to select your board, ask these questions:
Do they have a heart for God?
Are they a person of character?
Do they have a heart for your mission?
Do they bring needed wisdom, skills and experience to your ministry?
Do they have a servant’s heart? Are they humble?
Do they have a learner’s heart? Are they teachable?
Your Board is very important, maybe more than you realize. So be wise about how those you choose!
How do you develop a stronger staff? As a leader, one of our responsibilities is to strengthen those that we lead. When I was a young Second Lieutenant in the 9th Infantry Division, the First Sergeant of the company I was assigned to took a liking to me (or felt pity on me!). One of the things he taught me was to be training for the next level of command. He made the statement that when you do your job well as a leader then you can go play golf and your people would never know you were gone. Quite a statement!
Think about what all goes into that statement. One aspect of it is that you have strong people that think on their own and think well. People who know how to make the right choices about their work.
Questions are incredibly powerful in learning and especially in leading. One of my favorite guys, Bobb Biehl, is a master at asking questions. He is also a collector of questions – these questions have become some of his most important tools in his consulting and coaching practice.
One area that I am trying to grow in is learning how to ask good questions. I have read several articles and a book on the subject & it is a favorite method of Bobb Biehl. Today I came across this article & thought you might enjoy it as well. It is a good post on the Harvard Business Review blog by John Baldoni.
“Every leader I know has at least one need in common: a need to connect honestly with others. One way to help foster improved connections is by asking good questions. Leaders who excel at asking good questions have honed an ability to cut to the heart of the manner in a way that disarms the person being interviewed and opens the door for genuine conversation.
Whether they are talking to customers, interviewing job candidates, talking to their bosses, or even questioning staff, executives need to draw people out. And so often, it is not a matter of what you ask, it is how you ask it. Here are some suggestions.
1. Be curious.
2. Be open-ended
3. Be engaged
4. Dig deeper
Asking good questions, and doing so in spirit of honest information gathering and eventual collaboration, is good practice for leaders. It cultivates an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing issues that affect both their performance and that of the team. And that, in turn, creates a foundation for deepening levels of trust.”