“Has your team ever gotten stuck in brainstorming what might be the best possible ways forward? Do you have a backup question that will instantly get them un-stuck? Here it is:
“How can we do this (whatever your team needs to do) in a way that will guarantee its failure?”“
Bob Tiede’s “Great Leaders Ask Questions” is a wonderful (free!) book about, well, asking questions.
The title of the book is self-explanatory, but the main importance of the book comes from well-written stories that give leaders new ideas on questions they can and should ask every day.
In Weekdone weekly reporting, we’ve committed to improving our own and other people’s leadership skills, so this book is a great resource for expanding our thinking.
Bob Tiede himself is a leadership expert working in the US Leadership Development team and has more than 40 years of experience in leadership. So he knows what he’s talking about.
Here are some of the interesting questions you find in this book.
“What are you doing to develop leaders?”
As Bob tells us: “The truth is no church, organization, or company can grow any faster than its ability to grow leaders!”
The fundamental idea, that no organization can grow without growing it’s managers and leadership, is important. Yet, often not thought about.
Sure, managers attend conferences and seminars, but, in my experience, it’s not often that a CEO takes an active role in making sure everyone in management position are gaining experience and improving.
“What can we learn from this?”
“Do things ever go wrong where you work?
When they do, are you tempted to ask: “Who’s to blame?” Would you like to have a better question? Here it is: “What can we learn from this?”“
Being a manager, it’s very easy to try to find people to blame for every misfortune or error.
And I would argue that sometimes, it’s the right thing to do. However, most of the time it’s a lot more productive and useful to make sure everyone learns from the mistakes, and move on.
„How do you know that?“
„Do your staff/peers/leaders ever make statements that you suspect may not actually be true? World War II General George S. Patton was known for his quip: “How do you know that?”
This is a profoundly simple and effective method for sorting out opinion from fact.“
The difference between an option and a fact must always be made clear.
There are a lot of times when a leader needs to trust employees but establishing trust in teams takes time.
Also, for a lot of decisions there may not be facts available and a person must say and do things based on their gut feeling. That’s okey, but a leader must always know what the decision is based on.
Ask a lot of questions.
These three questions brought out in here are only fractions of what you’ll find in the book.
But as I said in the beginning, the biggest value of the book is making sure you keep asking more.
Or as written in the book:
„Dan Rockwell of “Leadership Freak” fame says: “Any fool can ask the first question; wise leaders ask the second.”
Asking the second question will double your effectiveness in leading with questions.
For example, you ask a friend: “What have you been up to?” Your friend says: “Just got back from a two week business trip to South Korea.” Your second question might be: “What did you learn about doing business in South Korea?” Or your friend says: “Just finished reading a great book on Executing Strategic Plans.” Your second question might be: “What are you going to immediately put into practice?”
During the past two months I have become very intentional about asking the second question and have been astonished at how effective this simple technique is.
And of course, whenever you are not quite sure exactly how to phrase the second question, you can always simply ask: “Can you please tell me more?”“
You can find out more by downloading the book from leadingwithquestions.com
You have just read brief “Excerpts” from “Great Leaders ASK Questions – A Fortune 100 List” by Bob Tiede. Bob’s book is a free eBook & Audio Book. Bob Tiede is also the Founder of a terrific blog: LeadingWithQuestions.com