Great leaders ask great questions
As leaders – supervisory, managerial, and executive – we are tasked with delivering results. The outcomes we are responsible for depend upon the solutions we help others create. As quickly as operations change and strategy can pause or pivot, leaders need to communicate in more frequent, well-defined ways. Consider these questions to generate better discussions with your direct reports and obtain a clearer understanding of where you can help them deliver on their goals.
- Is the credit union headed in the right direction? As leaders, we often discuss our view of the credit union’s future. But does this fit with what our line managers see and address every day? It is possible that superb strategic refinements are, literally, just outside your office door.
- Where do, or should, you fit along our strategic path? Here is your chance to learn how a job, team, or department contributes to a larger objective. It is also an opportunity to listen for new ideas about how others might provide more toward growth and successful operations.
- What is working? Often, in our quest to improve, we overlook the need to recognize. It is important to ask others where they are creating and observing success. They can reveal recent accomplishments and you may learn more about how operations are flourishing every day.
- What might work better? Forget about what did not work. That is the past and is likely corrected. Rehashing rarely moves business forward. Ask for ideas and proposals. Move forward with the good suggestions. Act on others’ concepts and they will take ownership.
- How can I help? An up-and-coming executive recently shared that his most important goal was to use his position, influence, and resources to make his team better. “The commitment to now and the future increases the more they win.” Challenge yourself with this outlook.
- How can I be better for you? This question might not receive much response at first but keep asking. Professional feedback for improvement goes both ways. As those you lead realize your sincerity and ensuing actions, they will continue to help you grow just as you help them.
Read through most job descriptions for leadership positions and you will find plenty of bullet points that focus on how a potential leader should deliver answers. While leadership does involve results, it takes significant questions to determine the best conclusions. As you seek to improve your capacity to lead, equally enhance your power to learn by asking great questions of your team.