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In this series, I am introducing you to the twenty superpowers that leaders need to possess to create an environment for resilience. This is an environment in which individuals and teams are resilient in the face of constant change.
Individual resilience is critical when the world around us is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Resilience means we can adapt to difficult situations and not just survive but thrive. Unless we do, the stress will overwhelm us, and we will suffer physically and mentally.
Each week we will explore one of those twenty superpowers.
Superpower: The Enquirer
The Enquirer asks questions—a lot of questions.
Leaders have to stop telling people what to do. Effective leaders lead with questions.
When leaders have a conversation based on questions, employees feel valued, motivated and empowered. This helps build resilience in the team.
When employees are asked questions, you are telling them that you are interested in what they have to say. There are two types of questions. One looks at what has already happened and the other looks to the future.
Looking at what has already happened garners employee perspectives about the event(s).
“How did that make you feel?”
“What challenges did you face?”
“What would success have looked like?”
The forward-looking questions ask:
“What could we do better?”
“What should we stop doing?”
“What should we do next?”
“What ideas do you have?”
When leaders ask questions, they generate a conversation in which many voices can be heard. Those voices are curious, creative, innovated and engaged.
Ask one question at a time.
Brevity is king.
Listen to the answers. Really listen.
Ask authentic questions to which you want an answer. Don’t disguise trying to lead a conversation with questioning—people will see through it.
Keep questioning and probing.
Ask follow-up questions.
Allow employees time to answer. Give them time to think. Don’t prompt and fill the silence. Let the conversation run naturally.
Acknowledge what they are saying and show you are listening.
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