Leadership for Life – Any Questions?

By on December 2, 2013
Leadership for Life - Any Questions?

Our Leadership experts will be sharing tips and insights for everyone, at any station in life, at both home and work. Leadership for Life – the skills you embrace represent who you really are at all times.

As a leader, you know that when you prepare for a presentation or a discussion, the most important things to prepare are your questions, not what you’re going to say. The leader’s job is to get his/her subordinates to generate ideas and solutions to problems, not come up with everything him/herself.

Depending on the context, some of the questions you might ask include:

  • “What’s going right?”
  • “What help do you need?”
  • “Do you understand why we’re doing this?”
  • “What questions do you have?”
  • “What do you think?”

You can probably think of many others, depending on the circumstances. Underlying the idea of asking questions, rather than giving orders, is the concept of customer service. When you are a leader, your subordinates are your customers. It’s your job to help them be successful on the job and to facilitate their work on behalf of the organization.

Leaders also need to be prepared to answer questions. Unfortunately, too many people are afraid to ask higher ranking people hard questions, for fear of retaliation. As a leader, you need to encourage people to ask you questions, especially the hard ones. Some of these might include:

  • “What were you thinking when you …?”
  • “What’s the plan for …?”
  • “Why can’t we …?”
  • “Why didn’t you …?

You need to prepare not only your own questions, but responses to the questions your people will ask you. Certain questions might be tough, and you may be reluctant to provide full disclosure, but people in organizations should feel free to ask them. The more transparent you are as a leader, the more you’ll be trusted by the people in your organization. Even if your goal is to get people to work harder, you’ll be more successful when your people trust you than if they’re suspicious of your motives.

You can learn more about building trust in organizations. Call us at 314-539-5329 or email to bschapiro@stlcc.edu.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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