You’ve probably heard it said for some time now that there is a difference between good and great. You’ve probably even heard it said that good is the enemy of great, because we’ll get comfortable in good and then never feel the angst to strive for more. I think we pretty much know this to be true.
So I want to challenge the leaders out there to go for great in one area where, while many are stuck in good, some are even stuck below that in not so good. The area I’m talking about is asking questions.
I think great leaders ask great questions.
Weaker leaders don’t ask questions at times because they think they know it all. But they don’t. They don’t think the people they would ask know anything of importance. But they do. Or they don’t even think to ask questions. But they should.
Great leaders ask great questions of the ones they’re working for. What do you specifically want me concentrating on right now? What do you see that I’m doing well? What am I doing less than expected in your eyes? Is there something you need that I could in some way help you get?
Great leaders ask great questions of the ones they’re working with. How do you think we’re working together? Is there anything I could do to help you succeed? Do you honestly feel we’re working with, apart, or even against each other right now? Is there anything you see in my work that you think I may not be seeing?
Great leaders ask great questions of the ones they’re leading. Is there anything we’re not doing that you feel we should be? Is there anything that we are doing that you feel we should stop doing? Do you think you see something in me or our team that I may not see right now? What challenges are you most up against right now in doing what you’re here to do?
Questions open wide doors to possible improvement. They bring new perspectives and thoughts to the mix and it mathematically works not just by adding to the organization but by multiplying the potential that was there.
HOWEVER, none of this is much good at all if a leader just asks the question.
There are a number of leaders who do the right thing by asking their leaders, their coworkers, or their teams great questions. They get a gold star! But then they can often get stalled there.
But, if those people actually answer those questions honestly, it is then the burden of the great leader to in fact do something with those answers. That is when you move from the gold star to really mining gold out of your organization. That is when you show you really care about the people, the thoughts they have, and the health and success of your organization. That is when you move from a fairly great leader to an absolutely great leader.