One of the biggest blessings of my career was the opportunity to work with a gentleman named Bob. Bob was different from every other supervisor in my career. He never said, “let me teach you how to do this.” He simply did the right thing at the right time and expected you to learn from his example.
Also, he never came out and told you what to do. He would simply ask questions so that you could figure things out for yourself, exposing his thought processes as you went along.
Those that have successfully made the transition from manager to leader have found the importance of continuously asking questions. Questions provide a constant flow of feedback from front line workers.
Questioning his people enabled Bob to understand what was going right and where improvement was needed. At the same time, Bob was showing interest in the front line workers through these questions.
Effective leaders understand that asking questions will generate answers. How those answers are handled will have a direct impact on how people will perceive future questions. When people feel their answers are unappreciated, they put less effort in answering the questions. However if two steps are followed, future answers will be open, honest, and well thought out.
This is an excerpt from “Life’s Leadership Lessons” a collection of 53 anecdotal leadership lessons, each with an anecdote and the application of the topic in your everyday life. It is designed for use in weekly staff meetings or for personal development.