What are you doing to improve as a leader? If you’re like us, you may read books, listen to podcasts, and attend professional development workshops or conferences. While those are great strategies, Carol Dweck suggests there’s a key method that many leaders are missing. As professionals, we are often surrounded by people who have knowledge, skills, and abilities that we could learn, but too often we don’t leverage the relationships to gain those KSAs. According to Dweck, this is one of, if not the most, under-utilized resources for leaders in their development. We’d like to see that change.
The most natural way to begin learning from those around us is by taking the time to ask purposeful questions. The next time we’re with a leader we respect, and we have some downtime, let’s take a moment and ask a few questions. As Tim Ferris once said, “The way that you become world-class is…by asking good questions.” Here are sample leadership questions to prime the pump.
- Who has impacted you as a leader? How did this person impact your leadership?
- How do you support and cultivate creativity within your company?
- How do you balance the relationship between work and home life?
- What decision-making process do you and your team follow?
- Are there any specific practices that you require out of your leadership team? Why did you choose those activities?
- What do you believe are the most essential characteristics and competencies to have as a leader?
- How do you ensure that your organization and its actions are aligned with your core values?
- How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your organization?
- When faced with equally qualified candidates, how do you decide whom to hire?
- What is one quality that you believe every leader should possess?
- What is the greatest challenge facing leaders today?
- What critical mistake do you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
- What trait or behavior have you seen most often derail leaders’ careers?
- What impact has social networking had on your organization or you personally?
- What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
- What guidance would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
- What are you doing to ensure you grow as a leader?
Pro Tip: Start by asking yourself these questions. This will give you a basis of comparison as you begin to learn from others around you.