As leaders, confidence is important. Having the ability to make decisions and believe in them is critical to success. Too much confidence, however, can turn a good leader into a “know-it-all.” High-caliber leaders know they will get the best results when they admit that they don’t know it all. When leaders are willing to learn from others they can tap into the skills and expertise their team brings.
Unfortunately, too many professionals behave more like “know-it-alls.” This is the leader or team member who thinks they know everything. The person who believes they have the best or right answer. They are rarely open to feedback. They rarely ask others for their perspective or insight. Ego rules their decision making. Pride and vanity are hallmarks of their leadership style.
The secret in being an “I-don’t-know-it-all” is in asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are questions that require more than one right answer or a “yes or no” answer. Open-ended questions allow people to expound. To explain. To clarify. They also give people a sense that their opinion and perspective is valued and respected.
Here are a few open-ended questions you might not have thought to ask:
- What didn’t we talk about that we ought to discuss?
- What, if anything, do you think we ought to STOP doing?
- How can I be of support to you in this project?
- What kind of feedback would you like me to give?
- What didn’t I ask you that I ought to ask?
- How can we make this project even more effective?
- What are your “big picture” thoughts about this project?
Which of these questions are you going to add to your leadership toolkit?
Want more tools on how to be a high-caliber leader and communicator? Did you miss the live webinar “High-Caliber Communication: Chart a Career By Choice, Not Chance?” Download the on-demand version now.
Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.