In EntreLeadership, I teach a section about the need to ask questions. Why is that part of the class? Well, here’s the thing: Way too often, leaders jump to conclusions. Something goes wrong or not the way they wanted it to; and bam, they’re ripping somebody’s head off.
When they’re done, the head that is still on the floor gives them something important—information they didn’t have. Information that now makes them look like an idiot! When you don’t take the time to ask simple questions, you end up cutting off any possibility for discussion. And believe it or not, it’s where the information lives.
You have to slow down and find out what’s really going on—whether something has gone wrong and you need to know what happened or someone has come to you with information about another person. The latter grates on my last nerve because I see it all of the time. Someone has an agenda, and the leader doesn’t take the time to actually talk to the person to find out what’s really happening.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your leadership skills and not look like an idiot:
- Gather as much information as you can! Ask as many questions as possible to find out what happened. Nobody loses respect for a leader who does this. If you are digging to solve a problem, your team will think even more highly of you!
- If you are receiving information from one person about another, call the other person in! There is no reason to make a judgment call on partial information. Besides, you’re only hearing one side of the story. I have watched leaders take information from someone they like about someone they don’t like, only to find out it’s wrong. Talk to all parties involved.
- Allow those involved to give feedback. Always give them the opportunity to fill in any of the gaps that might be missing. Ask the questions, “Is there anything I don’t know about?” and “Is there anything you would like to tell me about this situation?”
As you open up these lines of communication, you’ll find that what seemed like one thing might be totally different. On top of that, your team will see that you care about what’s right—not just lopping off heads.
Questions: Have you ever jumped to a wrong conclusion? How did you fix it?
- When Leaders Throw Team Members Under The Bus (ChrisLoCurto.com)
- How To Influence Your Leadership (ChrisLoCurto.com)