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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.