As A Business Leader Ask More Questions, Do Less Telling

July 28, 2016

business leader

Are you a business leader? Do you seem to do a lot of telling people what to do in your business? If the answer is yes then keep reading…

I’ve been reading a new book by Sarah Lewis, Positive Psychology And Change – available on Amazon  and her website. One of her principles for achieving change is for business leaders to ask more and tell less.

If you are a director of a business or any other type of business leader you may think that your job is to know everything about the business and give direction to your employees.

Direction can come across as telling people what to do, especially if you start dictating when you want things done and checking up regularly on progress. At worst this can be seen as micro-management and the likely outcome is that those you manage will lose motivation to do a good job and will withdraw any creativity or ideas.

I’ve been a recipient of micro-management and the two overriding responses I had were:

  1. in an assertive approach: please let’s agree the end result and let me work out how to get there
  2. in a passive approach: just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.

Guess which one is more uplifting and attractive?

Are You A Micro-Managing Business Leader?

Ask yourself this: as a business leader do you find that some of your staff are always asking you for answers, clarification, etc. And you wish they wouldn’t? That they would just think for themselves?

Perhaps you are micro-managing?

Another thought on that passive approach – have you ever deliberately not done what you’ve been told as a form of rebellion to being told what to do? Possibly? It’s common in a parent – child relationship.

So what happens if you start asking more questions than telling?

· You start making people think more then they care more about what they do in their job;

· People respect you for asking their opinion or input;

· Staff will engage with you and their colleagues in answering the questions;

· And most strangely, people will start taking action to resolve the issue your question was about.

So here are a few questions that you could try using and observing what happens:

  • What’s it like when this business performs at its best?
  • What did we really do well last week and how could we do even better this week?
  • Imagine this issue could be magically removed – what would the business be like then?
  • What are the top 3 things we should focus on?
  • What new skills or processes do we need to move things forward?

Go on, give it a try: less telling, more questions. You’ll be surprised!

Click here to complete the 4 Disciplines Test to give you an idea where you are in your business!