Peter Drucker, considered the leadership guru of the twentieth notes that,
“The leader of the past may have been a person who knew how to tell, but certainly the leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.”
Effective leaders often take the time needed to fully understand the decisions and thoughts of others. Two questions come to mind about organizations and the people that lead them.
Are there any organizations willing to invest in a culture of inquiry?
Are there any organizations able to make the leap from knowing things to asking things?
The word question begins with the word quest. Quest is about investigation, searching, seeking, and pursuing. In “Discover the Gift”, Mary Manin Morrissey teaches us that “the quality of life is determined by the quality of the questions we learn to ask…”
If leaders want their employees to take initiative, they need to encourage people to ask questions and let them come up with innovative solutions that maybe you did not think of yourself.
Great leadership happens when the team shines and its individual members are more satisfied at work after having played a meaningful role in problem solving and solutions.
Leaders need to create a questioning climate where employees feel safe and able to trust the system and the people involved. Without this level of safety and comfort, people are generally unwilling to be vulnerable, and to be comfortable answering questions that might seem threatening.
The problem many of us face is that we don’t know how to formulate a good questions. Here are some examples on Empowering questions VS. Disempowering questions.
According to Judith Ross who writes in the Harvard Business Review notes that, “An empowering question does more than convey respect for the person to whom it’s posed. It actually encourages that person’s development as a thinker and problem solver, thereby delivering both short-term and long-term value: the short-term value of generating a solution to the issue at hand and the long-term value of giving subordinates the tools to handle similar issues in the future independently. “
Imagine an organization that every employee is asking, “What can I do? “What can I do to help or contribute to better performance?” Maybe we can’t fix everything, but I can help with X, Y and Z.