Most of us were raised as leaders to “figure it out,” right? Later in life, when we didn’t have enough information to make good decisions, we defaulted back to this guidance. And not much good came of those decisions.
So now that we’re in senior leadership positions, why do we give others the same instructions? One key reason is we’ve never appreciated the fact that the lack of information we’ve had to operate with is because we didn’t ask the right questions.
Here are the typical questions I hear leaders ask:
- “How’s it going?”
- “How are you guys doing?”
- “Any questions?”
- “Anyone have anything else?”
I’m sure you can see where this is going.
What kind of answers do you get when you ask these types of questions? You get poor answers that have no substance. It’s not because people don’t care – they just don’t know what you’re looking for. You’ve created an information vacuum.
Now you’re left with an empty reservoir to make decisions from. In the absence of information you can use to make an informed decision, you now have to “figure it out.” It’s difficult to be an effective leader when you don’t know what you don’t know….
There is a better way. It’s time to develop and implement a set of Power Questions.
Power Questions will not only give you the kind of substantive information you need to make solid decisions, but they will also start to train your leaders on how to do the same thing, making the whole organization more productive.
Here are a few Power Questions you can add to your leadership tool kit:
- What’s the toughest challenge you’re facing (in this project, or this week, etc.)?
- If you could have one more resource for yourself or your team, what would it be?
- What do you think our priorities are at this time?
- What’s the one thing we can do better?
- How can I serve you and the team more effectively?
Make these your own by tailoring them to your circumstances, and if you’ll focus on asking the right questions, you’ll get information you can use.
It works. Enjoy the journey!