Inquiring Minds……

03.15.13 | Posted in UnCommon Leadership

Want to know how to be an UnCommon Leader!

In the last Weekly Intention I referenced Marilee Adams and her book Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. I heard Marilee speak at the ICF conference in Orlando in 2009 and she delivered a compelling message around the entire concept of inquiry and powerful questions. She posted a blog about the characteristics of leaders that employ inquiry and questions. I’ll provide a link for the full article at the end, but below I’ve listed just a few things she mentions that tie directly to our conversations about becoming an UnCommon Leader.

Characteristically, inquiring leaders:

  • Understand that the quantity, quality, and intention of people’s questions largely determines their ability to learn, think critically and strategically, build and maintain relationships, gather information, make decisions, solve problems, manage conflict, and drive positive change and effective results.
  • Recognize that “great results begin with great questions” and that “every question missed is a potential crisis waiting to happen.”
  • Ask questions of themselves and others in ways that are constructive rather than critical, that seek to uncover and challenge assumptions, and that promote new thinking and possibility as well as responsibility and accountability.
  • Listen carefully and respectfully (especially when not agreeing with what they hear). This listening is focused by solution‐seeking questions such as,” What can I learn?” “What’s useful about this?” and “What are our goals?” They do not listen with problem‐oriented, blaming questions such as, “Whose fault is it?”
  • Solicit honest feedback, comprehensive facts, and multiple perspectives.
  • Create an inquiring culture in their organizations and on their teams by encouraging people to ask questions of them, each other, customers, and stakeholders.

I would highly encourage you to get Marilee’s book. It is a staple in my coaching arsenal. When you do, make sure you find the story she shares about early man being a nomadic man and how the simple act of reframing a question radically changed civilization!

Onward & Upward!

Ed Chaffin

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