Many of us would agree that questions can be powerful. The Chair of my dissertation committee, mentor and friend, Dr. Michael Marquardt, wrote a book called Leading With Questions. In this book, he explores how great leaders from large national and multinational firms have developed the practice of asking great questions to lead their teams to great outcomes.
What if you, like most of us, are not the leader of a large multinational firm? How can we use Dr. Mike’s research to empower ourselves, even if our team is the traditional group of me, myself and I?
We can start by just doing a little self-reflection and assessing how many questions we ask when opportunities present themselves. Over the course of my career, I’ve attended more than my fair share of staff meetings and conferences. In most instances, I have seen many speakers be met with very few questions from participants. Culturally, we have been trained to not ask questions. Certainly, we have not been encouraged to ask challenging questions. I am submitting: we are just plain out of practice.
Perhaps our re-entry to great leadership, partnership and personal achievement is leading with questions for ourselves. Consider if we brought to our consciousness questions like, “What would happen if I did this?” Or, “Are there other ways to get this done?” These questions lead to new ways of thinking. They may even spur collaboration and innovation. There is so much to be gained simply from the art of asking. It is a wonderful indication of listening, respect and full appreciation of time spent with someone. And, it could open the door to so much more.
Our theme song is “Where is the Love” by the Black Eyed Peas.