A good leader listens intently to their employees but it is a great leader who asks questions to motivate the discussion of their employees. Let’s look at the questions that you can use to get them thinking for themselves.
Protector in Chief
Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last, says that a leader is the protector of those in her group. This is great wisdom because the reality is that employees that don’t feel supported will spend most of their time protecting themselves rather than doing their tasks and moving the team forward. To help your group move in the same direction the question to ask is, “Do you have everything you need to succeed?”
As a leader your job is to provide the tools for your team to do their jobs well. Your job is not to do their jobs for them. So take a step back and invite the discussion – what tools are necessary for success and do you have them? Be prepared for their answers and be ready to equip your team with what they feel they need to be successful.
Delegate being correct
A trap that many good leaders fall into is the desire to know everything and have all the answers. Of course, when it is your project, you want to be aware of everything going on. A good leader will do that. A great leader will allow others to contribute their very best skills to the project. Make sure you surround yourself with individuals who have a lot to offer and then ask the question, “Who has a better idea?”
Listening to the ideas of others and getting their contribution early on will inspire employees to invest in the project. If you hear them referring to something as ‘your project’ rather than ‘our project’ you know you need to invite the ideas of your team for ultimate success.
When you see a team member falling behind or rolling their eyes, you’re first question might be “Do you have a problem?” Instead take your own reaction, your own emotions out of the equation for a moment. Put yourself in the shoes of the individual – what is going on in their personal life? What dynamics are at play with this person and the rest of the team? Do they want more to do or are they feeling overwhelmed and need something taken off their plate? The only way to know what is really going on is to ask the question, “Is everything OK?”
Tell your team member what you are seeing in their participation and their work and let them know you want to help.
Listening to your team is important to your success as a leader, and the only way to get in touch with their needs is to not only be ready to listen, but ask questions that help them feel safe and appreciated.