The Undivided Life Blog


Leadership Hack for Looking (and being) Smarter

communication company culture leadership Jul 19, 2023
Jeff Schiefelbein listening

There is a little-discussed Leadership Hack that is guaranteed to make you look smarter and feel smarter. The implementation roadmap is available in an open-source format, and the tactic is just as applicable to the lowest-level members of a team as it is to the executive leaders.  

The key is questions.

๐—”๐˜€๐—ธ ๐—ฎ ๐—น๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€.

๐—”๐—ณ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜, ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ธ ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€.

Genuine curiosity in people and processes unlocks deeper relationships, infuses dignity in the workplace, and creates a better understanding of plans, expectations, and outcomes.

Questions that probe deeper into a matter help to reduce the potential for undelivered communication and unmet expectations, both of which lead to upset. When people feel truly heard and believe that their voice and their opinions matter, they begin to feel honored and dignified in their work. The result is much higher engagement from the workforce.

When executed properly, questions also provide a voice to frontline employees and set the table for their creative input and brainstorming. The way in which questions are asked can signal to the team that engagement is valued and that the best ideas surface when each person is willing to contribute without concern for looking good.

Questions can also shape a healthy environment for ownership, making the ground more fertile for appropriate risk-taking and breakthrough results. Asking for someone’s opinion is the starting place, but the quality of the follow-up questions is where the discussion can really take substance. By asking someone more about why they feel a certain way, what they would do differently, and what is the best possible outcome if money and failure were both no obstacles.

Next time you feel stagnant, or you are not sure how to best lead others, or you are unsure if your work is meeting your boss’ standards, give it a try. Better yet, be proactive and ask questions long before you feel stuck.

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