Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 16 March 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Good business leaders are like lawyers

In Sri Lankan culture, leaders are believed to be people who have solutions to problems. You look up to leaders for advice, guidance, coaching, direction and various means of support - basically providing answers.

The recent downfall of many finance companies was due to the lack of this 'discipline' in organisations. If the right questions were asked by the leaders they could have avoided such disasters.

Right questions

I have learned over the years that leadership is not about knowing all the answers - it's not practical or real. You know that multiple heads are always better than one head - good leaders will pick from everyone's brains.

It's all about knowing what great questions to ask and carefully listening to the others for solutions. The leader who has the best questions will always find the best answers.

Good leaders know how to ask great questions - questions that inspire, motivate and empower people.

Astute leaders use questions to encourage full participation of the team to spur innovation and out of the box thinking to fish out the best solution out of many potential solutions. Every problem has more than one solution - better leaders will always pick the best idea.

New avenues

Questions wake people up. They prompt new ideas. They show people new avenues and directions, new ways of doing the same old thing. They help us admit that we don't know all the answers. In the process we become more knowledgeable and confident.

Successful questioning is one of the most powerful skills not only for leaders, but for everyone.

Leading with questions provides wonderful illumination on a subject often hidden in the shadows.

The ability to frame and ask the right question is a desired skill for everyone. This is a skill that develops with experience.

Leading with questions is brilliant and thought-provoking. It is a huge wake up call to all leaders that 'smarter questions' are the best recipe for lasting success.

The most successful leaders lead with questions, and they ask questions more frequently. Successful and effective leaders create the conditions and environment to ask and be asked questions.


Leading with questions will help you become a stronger leader by learning how to ask the right questions effectively, listen effectively, and create a climate in which asking questions becomes as natural as breathing.

When did you start asking questions and why? You will learn to ask powerful questions that will generate quick results and long-term learning and success by the way in which you ask questions.

As leaders advance, they tend to ask fewer questions and provide more answers. This is the wrong approach.

The right way is the complete opposite - as you advance ask more questions.

You should ask the right questions in the right context - enabling people and organisations to thrive.

Leadership is about helping others to flourish with ideas and contributions. And you do that by asking questions. This empowers co-workers to find solutions, embrace responsibility and become accountable.

It opens the door to greater productivity and creativity.

Indeed, more than ever before, leaders cannot know everything. By seeking others' input, they can inspire powerful and positive change.


The most effective leaders ask the right questions and also help those for whom they are responsible, to do so.

Over time, the questions and the answers will inevitably change but the process of interrogation will remain.

Leading with questions is a skill that needs breaking old habits and forming more productive ones. Are you ready to increase your learning? Are you ready to tap into the potential of the people around you? Are you ready to make breakthroughs and create innovations? Then the questions are for you.


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