Posted on Linkedin by Bernard Marr
"Effective leaders ask questions instead of giving orders."
Dale Carnegie wrote that in his classic, How to Win Friends and Influence Peoplenearly 80 years ago, but the advice is as good today as it was then.
The higher people rise to power, the less likely it is that others around them challenge them or tell them bad news. Bad news often get filtered and edited as messages cascade upwards and sometimes is it hard for top leaders to get a real feel for what is actually happening.
One of the most powerful tools leaders can have is to ask questions and then listen to the answers. This goes especially for questions that can’t be answered with a simple one-word-answer.
Questions help us to look at things in a new light, challenge the status quo, search for innovative ideas and figure out how to do things differently. The art of asking the right questions with the willingness to listen to the answers is one of the most important tool in the toolbox of top executives.
How to ask better questions
Often questions can feel like accusations to the person on the receiving end, making them instantly defensive. But empowering questions allows the person a safe way to share without feeling at fault. So instead of asking, “Why is this project behind schedule?” you could ask, “How do you feel about the way the project is proceeding?” and you’ll get a much different sort of answer.
Some ways to make sure you’re asking empowering questions:
But perhaps the most important lesson a leader can take from this idea of questioning is to cultivate a culture that embraces questions.
Perhaps you had a parent or teacher tell you at some point, “There are no stupid questions.” This is the sort of environment you want to encourage in the workplace as well.
Many workplaces operate in an atmosphere of fear that those who ask questions, who probe into issues, or question authority will see negative consequences.
Instead, as the leader, demonstrate that questions are welcome by asking many yourself. Encourage employees to come to you or their direct superior with any questions they may have, and train managers to approach questions with an open mind rather than defensiveness or condescension.
This atmosphere encourages a culture of creativity and innovation that every business I know would like to foster at every level. As always, let me know your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.
by Suzie Doscher
Confidence is often a topic in coaching. Usually it is relating too little confidence which certainly makes it difficult to act in all sorts of areas. To name a few:
Getting a reality check on where you stand with your own confidence level is never a bad idea.
By John Rampton
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have an unlimited amount of success in both their personal and professional lives? It could be because they possess high emotional intelligence.
According to Psychology Today, "Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others." This usually involves:
1. They're not perfectionists.
Being a perfectionist can get in the way of completing tasks and achieving goals since it can lead to having trouble getting started, procrastinating, and looking for the right answer when there isn't one. This is why people with EI aren't perfectionists. They realize that perfection doesn't exist and push forward. If they make a mistake, they'll make adjustments and learn from it. This is one I personally have to work on daily as I tend to be a little more perfectionist.
2. They know how to balance work and play.
Working 24/7 and not taking care of yourself adds unnecessary stress and health problems to your life. Because of this, people with EI know when it's time to work and when to play. For example, if they need to disconnect from the world for a couple of hours, or even an entire weekend, they will because they need the time to unplug to reduce the stress levels.
3. They embrace change.
Instead of dreading change, emotionally intelligent people realize that change is a part of life. Being afraid of change hinders success, so they adapt to the changes around them and always have a plan in place should any sort of change occur.
4. They don't get easily distracted.
People with high EI have the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and aren't easily distracted by their surroundings, such as text or random thought.
5. They're empathetic.
Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, told The Huffington Post that empathy is one of the five components of emotional intelligence. In fact, being able to relate to others, show compassion, and take the time to help someone are all crucial components of EI. Additionally, being empathic makes people with EI curious about other people and and leads them to ask lots of questions whenever they meet someone new.
6. They know their strengths and weaknesses.
Emotionally intelligent people know what they're good at and what they're not so great at. They've not just accepted their strengths and weaknesses; they also know how to leverage their strengths and weaknesses by working with the right people in the right situation.
7. They're self-motivated.
Were you that ambitious and hard-working kid who was motivated to achieve a goal--and not just because there was a reward at the end? Being a real go-getter, even at a young age, is another quality possessed by people with EI.
8. They don't dwell in the past.
People with high EI don't have the time to dwell in the past because they're too busy contemplating the possibilities that tomorrow will bring. They don't let past mistakes consume them with negativity. They don't hold grudges. Both add stress and prevent us from moving forward.
9. They focus on the positive.
Emotionally intelligent people would rather devote their time and energy to solving a problem. Instead of harping on the negative, they look at the positive and what they have control over. Furthermore, they also spend their time with other positive people and not the people who constantly complain.
10. They set boundaries.
While people with high EI may seem like pushovers because of their politeness and compassion, they actually have the power to establish boundaries. For example, they know how to say no to others. The reason? It prevents them from getting overwhelmed, burned out, and stressed because they have too many commitments. Instead, they're aware that saying no frees them up from completing previous commitments.
By Susan Begeman Steiner
If there is one mainstay in corporate life, it is that change is inevitable. We love the good changes, but the changes we don’t love take a bit of finesse to deal with.
The most extreme example is getting fired.
If you’ve experienced this kind of change, you know that it is an emotional roller coaster, not unlike going through a divorce.
The principles in Abigail Trafford’s book, Crazy Time: Surviving Divorce apply also to a “divorce” from your job. Trafford quotes Jungian analyst Lawrence H. Staples:
“’Divorce is always experienced as a failure. It threatens a person’s self-image of being good, being loved, being valued.’ But, he adds, it is out of failure that a person often finds the inner strength to attain major achievements in life. ‘A lot of people make a big contribution to society out of their own suffering,’ he says. ‘A crisis forces change.’ Often that is for the better. “
What can you do to find inner strength as you carry on?
• Take some time to grieve. Feel the heartbreak, devastation, humiliation, betrayal and what ever else is going on for you. Don’t just gloss over it. The first week after you get the news is NOT the time to take action.
• Take care of yourself. Practically speaking, you need to find work and move on. Steve Mitchell Sack goes into those details in his book, Getting Fired.
• Remember who you are. Realize that the action taken against you was not really personal. There were business reasons why it happened. This requires a “helicopter view” of the situation. You are still the same person you were before -- your value as a person is not determined by your job.
• Know that you are in good company. Many highly qualified people have lost their jobs, including Steve Jobs (fired from Apple Computers), Lou Holtz (fired from U. of Arkansas), Michael Bloomberg (fired from Solomon Brothers).
• Leave gracefully. If you are sticking around for a time after you've been let go, allow yourself to continue contributing to the company. Acknowledge those who have supported you, keep leading your team. The test of a true leader is to be able to show humility and courage, even through a difficult time like this.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
~ Helen Keller
Self-Help Book / Personal Development