Home Daily Buzz Why Asking Tough Questions Makes You a Better Leader

Why Asking Tough Questions Makes You a Better Leader

Are you asking your staff members tough questions?

If you’re not, you should be. Here’s why.

Nike CEO, Mark Parker is known for asking his employees questions that challenge them and inspire them to greatness. Fortune wrote, “What’s fascinating about [Parker’s] use of questions is that it leaves other leaders empowered to find the answers themselves and act on them.”

This is a powerful leadership tool that encourages teammates to think harder and work smarter with more effective outcomes.

Parker said, “I end up asking a lot of questions, so the team thinks things through. I don’t say ‘Do this, do that.’ I’m not a micromanager. I don’t believe in that. … At Nike, we have incredibly strong people. They know what to do.”

This philosophy reflects the work and findings of Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown who write on two kinds of leaders: Diminishers and Mulitpliers.

Business Insider wrote, “Diminishers tend to minimize intelligence among their team because they assume their employees’ abilities are fixed; multipliers believe abilities can be cultivated. Wiseman and McKeown found that multipliers tend to lead teams that are up to twice as productive as those led by diminishers.”

Multipliers make you smarter while Diminishers shut you down. You can probably think of examples of each type of leader, right?

Liz Wiseman wrote, “Leaders rooted in the logic of multiplication believe:
1. Most people in organizations are underutilized.
2. All capability can be leveraged with the right kind of leadership.
3. Therefore, intelligence and capability can be multiplied without requiring a bigger investment.”

Another way to look at it is this: “The Diminisher is an Empire Builder. The Multiplier is a Talent Magnet.”

How do you know if you’re in the company of a multiplier? Wiseman wrote, “Multipliers invoke each person’s unique intelligence and create an atmosphere of genius—innovation, productive effort, and collective intelligence.”

Are you asking staff members challenging questions?

Do you give your team room to innovate and create?

Are the people around you getting smarter because of you?

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Esther Laurie is a staff writer at churchleaders.com. Her background is in communication and church ministry. She believes in the power of the written word and the beauty of transformation and empowering others. When she’s not working, she loves running, exploring new places and time with friends and family. It’s her goal to work the word ‘whimsy’ into most conversations.