Ask Questions – Duh!


These past few weeks I have probably given close to 30 presentations and workshops on the topic of leadership.

Leadership…it’s so vague.

What does it really mean?

Do this. Think of someone in your head that you feel represents great leadership skills. Could be a co-worker, coach, athlete, philanthropist, teacher, parent, etc.

Take a moment to picture them. Now, think about the qualities that make them a great leader. List a few.

As I have done this, here are the top qualities that keep popping up from the audience:

  • Confident
  • Clear communicator
  • Good listener
  • Humber
  • Respects others
  • Encourages and inspires the team

It’s a good list. And these are the qualities that show up over and over again. I love to look at the list and notice what is not there. No one has ever said arrogant, loud, abrasive, “me first,” secretive.

Kind of obvious, but they are not exactly the qualities that we celebrate in a leader. Does your CEO do this?

Do you do this?

So, when it comes to building an environment as a team built on trust, respect, and value – how does a leader do it?

No, financial incentives do not built trust or value. It’s a short-term carrot on a stick.

Yes, giving compliments make people feel good, but those too get old after awhile with nothing else.

Do you want to create real value, trust, and respect?


Just ask them. Ask your team what they think. Ask them about their work and what they feel could be done better. Ask them their opinion. Ask them about their family. Ask them what they are passionate about. Ask them about their dreams and goals.

Imagine being on a team where a boss or co-worker asks you your opinion – and their curiosity is genuine. How does that make you feel? Does it bring you into the team? Do you feel valued – respected?

Yes to it all!

Good leaders inspire. Great leaders ask questions.

They understand that the smartest person in the room is the collective – not one person. They also understand that the best ideas don’t always come from the loudest person. That quiet worker in the corner, the one who never speaks up – might be sitting on a million dollar – company saving idea!

How are you going to bring that idea to the surface?

Maybe you just need to ask them.


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