- What did I learn today?
- What will I do differently tomorrow?
- How can I help?
Answering these questions might seem easy, but ask these every day if you aspire to be a great leader. (Note that the first two are asked of oneself!)
The human race has always sought answers – in religion, science, philosophy, government and on and on. We crave ever more information so WE CAN HAVE THE ANSWER! It’s how we are trained – from the earliest age: “Johnny, how much is 2+2?” When Johnny doesn’t know the answer he gets fearful, embarrassed and begins to have self doubt. Have you made someone feel like Johnny recently?
Great leadership focuses on great questions that engage and provide motivation to those we strive to lead. I’ll bet on an organization motivated by great questions working as a team as opposed to one with little or no room for creativity. (For a good discussion on leadership read Edgar Schein in the Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior: http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-032414-111449)
I have a favorite saying: “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.” (Thank you Charles Kettering!) Problems are better defined by asking questions – and asking the right questions brings about an institutional focus that will deliver results through innovation and creativity.