Many good leaders have understood the importance of asking good questions, and by asking the right questions, they have a powerful tool. They focus the issues in areas that help them become the best leader and the individual that they want to be. They help their employees to develop and guide the team to understand the purpose, both their own and the group’s purpose. What’s very important is that good leaders create clarity in the values, what the purpose is and what vision the organization has.
In the beginning you need to be brave yourselves, and also to have the understanding that if these questions are not common, it might take a while for the employees to feel comfortable with them. The more you ask the questions, both you as a leader and the team will develop.
So what kind of questions am I talking about?
Remember, I said that you need to be brave and that is also because you need to be open for the answers that might come. The first question is:
What kind of leader am I?
Leadership is about inspiring and equipping employees to be able to achieve the organization’s purpose, mission and vision, which means that the best leaders needs to know how their employees perceive them as leaders. It is important, however, that the employee feels comfortable being able to answer completely truthfully, which means that even if you do not like the answer, you will never use it for you own advantage or back-stabbing. If so you are not prepared to be a leader that people will follow. You need to be comfortable in hearing what they actually have to say about your leadership. This will also show how the organization in general is taking care of their leaders and employees. If the employees do not dare answer truthfully, that is a bigger issue for the organization.
Do I have good coaching skills?
Great leaders are secure but also humble. They realize they don’t have all the answers, which means they regularly surprise their team by asking, “What do you think? Or What do you suggest?”
Because they know that the more suggestions they get from their employees, the better the end result.
How can I help you?
A mature leader knows that his/her role is to emphasize the organization’s purpose, mission and vision and to help employees in the best way to achieve certain targets. They also ask questions such as: how can I help you achieve your goals? And what do you need from me to be able to achieve them?
How can we do this in another way?
Good leaders welcome that mistakes can be made in such a way that they ask for a solution, instead of looking for a scapegoat. If one needs to address the mistake with a specific person, this is always done in a 1-2-1 session with the individual and with an open question: how can we learn from it and how to make it better next time for this not to happen again?
Do you know what I see in you?
While detail-controlling leaders look to control and limit employees, successful leaders work more like talent scouts who want to activate the potential of their team. They understand that every interaction with the employee is an opportunity to build that person up so they can – in the best way – get access to their talents and skills.
Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
You know that the best way to maintain a good employee is to be open to how you can develop together. Even daring to let go if you can´t let the employee develop more within your team. The employee, who genuinely feels that you want their best, will be a great supporter for you and your leadership even in the future, and you never know when your roads meet again and in what positions you both might then be in.
Finally, the question below can be asked by the leaders who have a mature and safe working group and where there is a good and positive feedback culture.
What do you know, yet do not say?
Here it is important that you only listen and observe what they say. When answering this question, you have gained a great deal of trust and should not be taken lightly. Listen more instead of acting instantly, regardless of the content of the information. The action can begin after you have been given the opportunity to reflect on the answer. The action shall never disclose the information provider.
Why am I giving you this advice?
I have been a leader within both national and global companies for more than 20 years, and have been working with both leaders and teams within organizations for a long time.
I am an international certified coach and mentor, passionate about developing leaders, teams and entrepreneurs to help them maximize their results.
I have my home base in Stockholm, Sweden, and traveling across the world for different collaborations such as 1-2-1 coaching, as well as mentoring programs such as team development, or even workshops and inspirational speeches with leadership, self-leadership and success factors for organizations and entrepreneurs.