I recently read John Maxwell’s newest book Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. In it he states that “good leaders ask great questions that inspire others to dream more, think more, learn more, do more, and become more.” John Maxwell is one of my favorite authors on leadership and regarded by many to be the foremost teacher on leadership.
I found the book to be insightful and wanted to share some of the thought provoking questions that, as a leader you should be asking those around you, and questions you should be asking yourself. Below are some of my high level notes and take aways from the book.
The leader who never takes the time to ask what they are doing and why are unlikely to stay on track, lead at they’re best and reach their potential which is why we need to keep asking ourselves these tough questions.
Questions leaders ask themselves
- Am I investing in myself?
- As a leader, am I genuinely interested in others?
- Am I staying in my strength zone?
- Am I taking care of today by focusing on: faith,family, relationships, mission, and health?
- Am I investing time with the right people and maximizing ROI?
Am I adding value to my team by:
- Promoting a full commitment out of the team members
- Creating an environment of encouragement and support
- Identifying adversity as an opportunity to develop character
- Considering each persons strengths and weaknesses
What gives a leader sustainability?
- Practices (successful people do daily what unsuccessful people do occasionally)
What is the most effective daily habit for any leader to develop?
- Giving more than you receive
- Giving acknowledges that others have helped us
- Giving requires us to get beyond ourselves
- Giving is by nature intentional
- Giving changes the world one person at a time
Why is it harder to lead myself than others?
- Blind spots: singular perspective, insecurity, ego, weak character.
- Can you help me? A question of competence.
- Do you care for me? A question of compassion.
- Can I trust you? A question of character.
- Are you grounded as a leader? A question of humility.
Questions I ask team members
- What makes you:
- How good a listener are you?
- Listening demonstrates that you value others
- Listening has high influence value
- Listening leads to learning
- What do you think?
- Gathering information
- Confirming my intuition
- Assessing someone’s judgement as a leader
- Teaching people how I think
- Processing the decision
- How can I serve you?
- What do I need to communicate?
- Did we exceed expectations?
- What did you learn?
- Where can we add value?
- How do we maximize this experience?
- What do I need to know?
- How do we make the most of this opportunity?
- How are the numbers?
- What am I missing?
How can you inspire your team?
- Share your passion
- Paint a picture and vision of a better future
- Show how their role makes a difference
- Challenge them to keep growing
How to identify leadership potential in others
- Leaders are catalysts that make it happen
- Leaders are relationship builders
- Leaders are influencers
- Leaders are gatherers; people are attracted to them
- Leaders are value adders
- Leaders are opportunists
- Leaders are finishers, no excuses
Questions to ask during a learning session or interview
- What’s the greatest lesson you have learned?
- What are you learning now?
- How has failure shaped your life?
- Who do you know whom I should know?
- What have you read that I should read?
- How can I add value to you?
- Do you have a plan for personal growth?
Factors to look for in other leaders
- Influence. Leadership = Influence – nothing more, nothing less
- Capacity and desire to grow. What are they doing to grow?
- Attitude: desire to grow as a leader
- Chemistry: do we like each other
- Passion: are they self motivated
- Character: are they grounded
- Values: are our values compatible
- Teamwork: do they work well with others
- Support: do they add value to me
- Creative: can they find possibilities in impossibilities
- Option: can their contribution give me options
- 10 percent: are they in they top 10 percent
I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.