Leaders: Ask Big Questions

Leaders are usually looked to as people who have all the answers. But this, often times, is not the hardest part of leading others. Often times, the most difficult thing a leader has to do is to ask questions. Why? Because it reveals something that the leader often isn’t willing to admit: that he or she doesn’t have something. Whether the leader is lacking knowledge, money, resources, know-how, or time doesn’t matter. The fact is, the leader doesn’t have something, and must ask to get it. On top of this, the more influential the leader and the bigger the stakes, the bigger the question.

The bigger the question, the harder it is for the leader to ask it.

So the question about questions is this: how do you, as a leader, ask the big questions? Here’s a couple of things to remember:

You Don’t Know Unless You Ask

In fact, you’ll never know unless you ask. Regardless of the point of the question, or what you’re after, if you never ask, the question will remain unanswered, and you’ll remain lacking. Who wants to follow someone who knows where to get the answers/resources, but refuses to even ask…much less obtains them? No one, that’s who.

Ask the Right Person

You don’t want to ask the big question more than once. You want to do it firmly, to the point, and, most importantly, to the person who can give you the big answer. Make sure you do your homework to get to who you need to get to in order to obtain the information or resources you’re after.

Ask Not For Yourself…But For Those You Influence

As a leader, your primary role is to serve others through your leadership: whether it’s your employees, customers, followers of your influence, or other leaders. So when you ask the big question, remember, you’re not asking for yourself.

You’re asking for those people who are depending on you for proper, bold, and courageous leadership.

This fact alone will perhaps relieve you of your timidity, and give you the courage to approach that CEO, investor, or other influential of which you need to ask  question.

Ask Clearly

If you ask the big question, and they don’t understand what you’re asking, you’ve lost. Even if you obtain this time what you need or want, the next time around, they’ll remember that you fumbled your way through the last question. Or worse yet, they’ll misunderstand your question and won’t give you what you’re looking for, instead substituting something minor or less valuable to you for what you’re really after…which will make the big question even more difficult to ask. Get it right the first time.

Ask With Authority

Here’s the thing:

Just because you’re asking a question doesn’t make you any less of a leader. So act like one.

Ask your questions with authority. Ask them clearly, ask them boldly, but ask with authority as well. Ask like you’re expecting you’ll get an answer. Not over-confidently, but with authority.

You’re a leader. Ask like one.

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