Leading by Asking the Right Questions
Leadership is more about asking the right questions than having all the answers.
Implied in my last post, What’s Required to Lead Teams, Organizations and Movements, is the reality that best Organizational Leaders ask the right questions.
That’s because asking the right questions creates dialogue, and dialogue is critical for creating shared vision and values, as well as creating a strong commitment to both the people and the organization’s mission. So the leader’s job is to ask the right questions and listen to all the answers and discussion that follows.
Asking the right questions also requires asking the right people. In most organizations the right people included include employees, board members, customers, potential customers, volunteers and donors (for non-profits), and yourself. Of course it’s not always practical to ask every person in each category, but it’s important to find the right number of people in each group, remembering that the goal is to create dialogue, commitment, and clarity in the answers to the Right Questions.
Finally, though it’s obvious, if leaders are to lead through asking the right questions it requires them to ask these questions with humility, to be truly open to hearing things they may not like to hear, to respect both the messages and the messengers, and finally, to have the wisdom to sort through the array of answers to find the common themes which, ultimately leads to the right answers.
So what are the right questions that need to be asked?
They’re questions that center on the four areas leaders need to lead – Organizational Thinking, People, Resources, and Self – discussed in my last two posts. Though there may be many right questions, you might want to begin with the questions SpringHill asks by clicking here (or see my page on the above right side of my blog called “Questions Leaderships Should Ask and Help Their Organization Answer”); they’re formatted into a checklist you can use to evaluate your own organization and its journey of asking and answering the Right Questions.