Leaders Asking Questions

The problem-based mission statement and set of guiding principles comprise the new set of tools for leaders and managers. It’s not about telling people what to do. It’s about giving voice to the direction of the organization and teaching individuals how to think about getting there. It is now the job of a manager to teach individuals how to think strategically.

Ask, Don’t Tell

I’ve had to work hard to become an effective manager. I’m not one of those gifted leaders who inherently knows how to inspire people, and gets energy from coaching and working with them. I typically dread one-on-one meetings with my direct reports because it means getting out of my own head-space (a place I really like to be), listening intently, and making the time meaningful for both of us. For an introvert like me, this is exhausting!

At the same time, I find management ultimately satisfying. I think of it as an opportunity to multiply my effectiveness through other individuals. Specifically, I see the role as:

  • Using my experience to help individuals sharpen their skills. These days, though, I find that I rarely have to do this. In many cases, my direct reports are far better than I am at performing specific tasks. They have, for example, better Excel skills, better relationship-building skills, better course design skills, better project management skills. Which means that I spend most of my time . . .
  • Asking questions about the bigger picture and strategy. For example: “Yes, ...

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