Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Art & Science of Questioning

John C. Maxwell GOOD LEADERS ASK GREAT QUESTIONS—Your Foundation for Successful Leadership

There are so many compelling aspects of Leadership. John C. Maxwell reminds the reader one of the most powerful components of a Good Leader, is the art of asking Great Questions. Maxwell's foundation for successful leadership is asking questions as the basis for learning (p. 27).

Maxwell encourages others who have a passion for leadership to begin the journey by first being self-reflective. Good leaders understand in order to see beyond themselves they must first look inward and ask themselves some tough questions (p. 27). These questions promote personal growth, question your motivation and stability to lead, your belief in the value of team work, your commitment to the mission, and your relationships to team members to examine your own effectiveness as a leader. Maxwell reminds us of the wisdom of Socrates who said, "The unexamined leader is not worth following."

"Leadership is servanthood" (p. 61). Helping those around you with can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a leader. The value of asking questions and then carefully listening and reflecting on the responses can support the connections needed to be more mindful leader.  Maxwell admits early in his career he was a talker not a listener and with frank and yet loving advice from his wife he was able to generate a list of questions he could ask others. Good leaders, listen, learn, and then lead (p. 49).

This list includes questions you ask yourself and questions you ask your team. They are the heart of the book and a great reference tool to really learn how listen effectively and value the contribution of those around you. Maxwell quotes the famous Walmart founder Sam Walton who was know for both his business expertise and his commitment to his global staff. "Asking and hearing people's opinions has a greater effect on them than telling them good job."

If you are leading a team and serving others Maxwell's book Good Leaders ask Great Questions will be a learning leaders frequent reminder to start asking genuine questions and really listen.  "Good leaders ask great question that inspire others to dream more, think more, learn more, do more and become more" (p. 55).

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