Many times, the difference between good leadership and poor leadership is simply the quality and speed of information a leader has at hand. Bad information leads directly to bad leadership — misinformed people make incorrect choices and take ill-advised risks.
A poor leader could easily be a better leader if his/her information was better. So the key difference then is how a leader gets their information.
Are questions are the best way to get answers?
In a blog post entitled “5 Common Questions Leaders Should Never Ask,” the author, Warren Berger, posits that what matters in leadership — even beyond the questions themselves — is how you ask the questions.
Questions can be great for engaging and motivating people, but they can just as easily be used to confront or blame, and can shift the mood from positive to negative.
He advises asking questions that focus on strengths rather than weaknesses, and on opportunities rather than failures. Instead of “What’s the problem?” a good leader should ask, “What are we doing well, and how might we build upon that?“
Instead of placing blame with “Whose fault is it?” ask “How can we work together to shore up any weaknesses?” Instead of trying to control employees with “Why didn’t you do it this way?” leaders could ask, “How were you thinking of doing it?” In place of “Haven’t we tried this already?” you could ask, “If we tried this now, what would be different this time — and how might that change the results?”
And finally, instead of demanding “Why haven’t YOU come up with something like [insert latest Apple product here]?” smart leaders should really ask, “How might we use our particular strengths to do an even better job of meeting customers’ needs?”
But what if you didn’t have to ask any questions at all?
Good leaders know how to get the information they need without angering, alienating, or de-motivating their employees. But smart leaders know how to get all that same information without having to ask any questions at all.
Smart leaders get answers to business-critical questions — anytime they want — from an Enterprise Social Networking platform like tibbr.
With tibbr, smart leaders already know about problems before they become serious because discussions happen out where any employee can see them. Surprises don’t sneak up or appear out of nowhere. The factors and conditions that led to problems — including any actions taken — are readily apparent so time isn’t wasted placing blame. All past discussions are available to all so previously made mistakes aren’t repeated. And innovation is crowd-sourced across the entire company so that everyone’s responsible for coming up with the Next Big Thing.
According to Forrester Consulting, tibbr prevents the need for asking so many questions by providing better access to experts, information, and answers. Problems get solved faster because users can mine the collective knowledge of coworkers. And, by not needing to call in upper management to solve problems, tibbr increased workforce productivity savings by 3X.