Far too often, we look toward leaders to give answers, to lay out the road map to success. Important, but there is another essential component of reaching your leadership potential.
You need to embrace asking questions!
In John Maxwell’s new book Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, he opens up with this insight about questions. “The more questions I ask, the more valuable I recognize them to be. Without the wise counsel and insightful answers I’ve received to questions over those decades, I wonder where I would be today.”
In Maxwell’s book, he lists 8 reasons why questions are important. I want to give an example to reason #7 – Questions give us a different perspective. Not long ago, I was meeting with three people representing young professionals in our city. I asked to meet with them to generate possibilities of a joint venture with the chamber of commerce of which I’m the board president. Most of our talk focused on what young professionals wanted from our older members – mentoring, how to start a business, etc. I paused and asked them, “What can you, as young professionals, offer to our chamber members who are older than you?” I could tell from their faces that question had not crossed their minds.
I asked them for their responses to my question which opened up a “different perspective” on what this joint venture could be. Our conversation shifted in my engagement with them in raising ideas of what they can offer to older professionals. They delighted in offering their ideas. Talking about engagement!
We accomplished what Maxwell points out as the benefit of doing this – “By asking questions and listening carefully to answers, we can discover valuable perspectives other than our own.”
I leave you with this quote by Anthony Robbins, a life success coach, to consider and act upon. “Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”