The genesis of the word “leader" comes from Old English word “laedan” meaning “to go before as a guide”. One who see’s and senses what is coming, is able to peer far into the hazy darkness, paints a vivid picture of the distant future and the one who all “go to” to seek solutions.
When you dwell on this in the backdrop of what Martin Luther King Jr famously said: “The ultimate measure of a leader is not where they stand in times of comfort and convenience BUT where they stand in times of challenge & controversy”, it places tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of a leader.
But in today’s uncertain times, how is the leader supposed to guide their people when they themselves are struggling to find the path. Their fountain of knowledge, decades of experience and predictive sciences are falling short. Answers elude them. Everyone is crystal gazing into the future.
Carl Jung says: “The ability to ask questions in the greatest resource in learning the truth”.
Let’s think about what doctors do, or journalists or lawyers, when all they have is vague and sketchy information, based on which they are expected to come up with the enlightening answers. They probe, ask for finer details, seek to ask the same thing in different ways, continually dig deep to uncover, gently & persistently nudge until clarity begins to emerge.
So, if as a leader you’ve run out of answers, like a coach, ask the Questions.
Powerful questions are often simple. When asked with genuineness and laced with care, will connect you meaningfully with your workforce, help you get a plethora of innovative ideas, discover unforeseen business hazards and unlock hidden strengths of your team. Questions such as:
As you reflect upon what you want to know, remember what Dale Carnegie said: “Ask questions that people will enjoy answering”.
Three ways to tell if your questions created magic are:
Through the times crusaders, philosophers, scientists and unicorns armed with spirt of curiosity, insatiable hunger to learn and bagful of questions have gone on to pave a new world. So can you!
As to what can you ask, to seek the elusive answers, let us pay heed to what Albert Einstein often said “Question Everything”!
First published by ETHR on 14th May. Link below
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