021 – 10 Powerful Leadership Questions (Part 2)
Subscribe and Listen to the Your Best Manager Podcast!
The Inquisitive Manager: 10 Questions That Will Make You A Better Leader Instantly. (PART 2)
Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
The Inquisitive Manager: 10 Questions That Will Make You A Better Leader, Instantly
10 Powerful Leadership Questions (Part 2)
If you listened to Monday’s episode, you’ll remember that we are rolling through 10 Questions that will make you a better leader, instantly. Yes, 10 leadership questions, that if you ask them, even the first time you ask them, your leadership will immediately improve.
And if you haven’t listened to Part 1, go back to Episode 20 and listen, because we covered the first 3 leadership questions… and today, we are talking about questions 4 through 10.
And as a quick reminder, these questions are part of my ebook, The Inquisitive Manager, which you can have for free just be showing up for my upcoming FREE live masterclass in just a couple weeks, titled, 7 Reasons Why Your Best Employees Will Quit This Year.
10 Leadership Questions Recap
Leadership Question #1: Why Are You Here?
Leadership Question #2: What’s Working Right Now?
Leadership Question #3: What Can I Do To Make Your Job Easier?
Powerful Leadership Question 4: How Do You Think We Are Doing Relative To Our Goals?
The first question here really starts with, do you know your own business goals?
As a manager, your performance is based on your goals (or your team’s contribution the company’s overall goals). This means that, first and foremost, you should know them.
The follow-up question is, do your employees know your business goals?
Ask them this leadership question, “How do you think we are doing relative to our goals?”
Powerful Leadership Question 5: If You Were To Run Into Any Trouble, What Do You Think Would Cause It?
I had an employee once who would make up an excuse the second she was given instruction. It was a really frustrating defense mechanism until I learned to harness her focus.
She would often finish a conversation with a comment like this: “Okay, I’ll do my best, but X is probably going to happen…”
What she was really doing was giving me a heads up about a potential problem… a potential problem with our plan. And even if I didn’t think so, this was an opportunity to walk through how she could overcome that challenge… before it even appeared.
…and all it took were these words, “Okay, so if X happens, what do you think we should do?”
Instead of waiting for an issue to come up, why not ask your staff at the end of a project meeting, this leadership question, “If you were to run into any trouble, what do you think would cause it?”
Powerful Leadership Question 6: What Does Work Life Balance Mean To You?
Guess what. The things that are important to you are different than the things that are important to your employees. In fact, everyone prioritizes things a little difference because we are all going through life under different circumstances.
- John needs to leave work right at 4:45 PM so he can pick up his kids from daycare
- Ashley would like an extra 30 minutes over lunch so that she can workout at the gym
- Tyrone is willing to work late on Tuesdays and Thursdays because his wife works a late retail shift
- Melanie is a night owl and would rather come into work late and stay at work late
- Timothy prioritizes church on Sundays and would prefer not to be scheduled those days
- Cassie is taking care of an elderly parent and may have to leave with short notice
Now, not all of these circumstances or requests are permissible in all work environments, but it’s important to recognize that work-life balance is not a one size fits all and it’s not ALWAYS about limiting work hours.
Powerful Leadership Question 7: Do You Feel Valued?
One of the biggest impacts to employee engagement is the ability to perform meaningful work – to be able to make a significant contribution. This is especially true for the millennial generation where motivation no longer comes from job stability and a pension, which by the way is becoming harder and harder to find anyway.
So ask your employees, point blank, if they feel valued. If the answer is yes, ask why so that you can continue to build him or her up. And if the answer is no? That’s okay, better to find out now than on the receiving end of a resignation letter. Take the invitation now to make some changes and build your relationships.
Powerful Leadership Question 8: Is There Anything You Would Like Me To Ask My Boss?
Your boss probably doesn’t spend very much time with your direct reports (and that’s normal).
However, your team members don’t know what happens behind closed doors and sometimes a funny look from an intimidating executive or director can be misinterpreted as dislike.
So do a pulse check from time to time with your employees and ask them about your boss. Ask them if there is anything they would like you to ask him or her. Help bridge the relational gap and settle some fears that may… or may not be… creeping in.
Powerful Leadership Question 9: Do You Believe That We Are The Best At What We Do?
Be careful with this one, because you may not like the answer.
If your team isn’t jazzed about the work you are doing, you have an opportunity to improve. If you don’t ask this question, you may not realize that… and pride comes before the fall.
I’ll also add that working with a sense of pride and passion is contagious and invigorating. When your team feels like they are the best, when they talk about being the best and when they identify as the best… the best performance will often follow.
Powerful Leadership Question 10: How Am I Doing As A Leader?
I discussed this as part of Question 3, but your ability to effectively lead a team will come down to whether or not your employees know, like and trust you.
To give some perspective here, let’s focus on a very uncomfortable word. Vulnerable.
And this question, “How am I doing as a leader” is risky. Unless
Unless it’s authentic and consistent. When you begin building relationships by admitting that you don’t have all the answers and by setting an example that you will consistently ask for feedback, well this question can actually become your secret weapon because simply asking the question demonstrates leadership.
But wait, there’s more!
BONUS Leadership Question: Where Are You Running Into Trouble?
This question, “Where are you running into trouble” is powerful, because it recognizes that things are never perfect… even if they feel perfect.
Asking a team in the middle of a project, how’s it going, is a closed-ended question that may only reveal obvious issues, but when you ask this open-ended question, “Where are you running into trouble”, now your team is looking for the issues… which is empowering because it’s not you nit-picking, but it can also reveal some not-so-obvious challenges.