Will someone lose their job if they ask the CEO a powerful question?

By October 3, 2017 November 1st, 2017 General

Our coaches can immediately spot an organization still wedded to a top down, outdated leadership model. What’s one tell-tale sign?

Only senior staff asks powerful questions.

Powerful questions are, well, powerful. So it requires an assurance that it’s safe to do so. We’ve worked with hundreds of clients who, unless it’s with those below them on the org chart, it’s too risky.

But here’s why we get excited about training every person on staff how to ask powerful questions. Whoever asks the powerful question is the leader in the moment — whether they’ve got the title or not.

Pull everyone off of the leadership sidelines. Here’s how to get started.

Tip #1 Ask questions of your team — that you don’t answer

Ask a question:  Where are we playing small with this program?

And now the hard part: don’t answer.  Even if the room gets quiet. And stays quiet. At first you may need to clarify, ‘I know I usually don’t ask your opinions about this stuff. But I want to hear what you think.’

Tip #2 Ask questions to challenge and stretch your staff

Asking questions sends the message that you expect them to have something important to say.  Not every time. But most of the time.

Tip #3 You’ve just modeled a pretty powerful listening skill

People feel deeply heard when they’re asked their opinion without being judged in the moment. So asking thoughtful questions is actually a fantastic listening skill.

And finally, find ways that junior staffers get access to senior leaders where they can wonder, and get curious, and ask about what’s important to them, to their teams, and to the people you serve.

 

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