[June 11, 2018] One of the simplest and easiest pieces of advice I can give any up-and-coming leader is, ask a leader for help and advice. The best way I know to get to the heart of any issue or problem is to find a good leader and ask them for help and advice.
The majority of leaders will only be too happy to assist. I found this to be an amazing characteristic of leadership; in other words, the willingness to help others out when they come to you. Don’t be shy or hesitant but also don’t abuse the privilege. Good leaders didn’t get where they are by being obstructive; they want others to succeed.
Typically, the most common question is either about a) how to solve a particularly difficult problem or, more likely, b) how did the leader succeed where others failed. Questions of the latter type are:
- What is your secret to good leadership?
- What was your greatest failure and how did you overcome it?
- What questions are you asking yourself lately?
- How do you balance family and work?
- What is your greatest accomplishment and what did you do right to make it so?
- How to you motivate and inspire others to work harder and smarter?
- How do you balance risks versus mission accomplishment?
- How do you ensure success with your boss (or superiors)?
- How do you chose who to promote and reward?
- What was your hardest decision you ever made and why?
There are, of course, many more questions but these make up the top ones for trying to get the “secrets” out of successful leaders.
The Boy Scouts have a motto, Be Prepared! And that is exactly what you should do as a new or seasoned leader, be prepared with a questions already committed to your memory. When the opportunity arises, you will be ready to ask good questions that a leader will be happy to answer.
For a good reference, see the Forbes article by Mike Myatt on The 50 Most Powerful Questions Leaders Can Ask.1