I am always looking for inspiring podcasts, and one that I subscribe to is Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast. The topics they discuss are always relevant, enlightening and practical. In this episode he spoke about leadership questions.
A recent podcast challenges leaders to ask this one question, – If you were me, what would you do differently?
The premise of the challenge is to invite feedback from employees and encourage them to share their perspectives. While this can sometimes be a difficult thing to do, it can make leaders more aware of blind spots or areas of weaknesses that may be obvious to others, but not necessarily to the leader.
4 Reasons to Ask This Question
1. Opens Lines of Communication
We all come to the workplace with our own set of insecurities.The problem is, we think that no one is aware of the weaknesses that we hold near and dear to our hears.
However, when we invite others to share their thoughts, opinions and perspectives, we open the door to learning things that can not only help us as individuals, but can also help to improve the organization as a whole.
For example, if you are responsible for leading large planning meetings, and take the time to ask the team how to improve the meeting process, it allows others to share thoughts and ideas that could influence how you lead meetings. Without asking this question, it would be difficult to gain that kind of insight from others.
2. Establishes Credibility
Andy says, “many people mistake being right with being credible”.
When a leader is open to hearing what others think, they demonstrate humility and a willingness to take other viewpoints into consideration. Simply asking the question, helps to establish credibility.
For example, if you are a decision maker and have a decision to make about changing vendors, hearing the perspective of those who work with the vendor would allow for feedback from those people who would be impacted by that decision.
“A mature, secure person walking in humility should be able to ask anyone, anything”.
3. Personal Development
Our professional lives are a journey, and continuous personal development should be the chosen course. When we allow others to share their perspectives, we can identify areas to work on and improve.
For example, if we ask for feedback after a training session we taught, we may learn about new tools or techniques that we were not aware of that could make the training better for future participants.
4. Continuous Improvement
It is easy to get stuck in a rut and constantly looking for ways to do things better is how organizations avoid the pitfall of stagnation. Asking the question allows for insights into doing things better, often more efficiently, which can translate into dollars saved or perhaps an improved customer experience.
Most of us hesitate to ask for feedback, and while feedback is sometimes difficult to hear, it helps us to learn about ourselves, which can ultimately help us be better at what we do.
The mere step of inviting feedback demonstrates leadership, and when we initiate the process, it makes it easier for others to give us feedback.
The reality is, everyone has an opinion and everyone is evaluating what we do and how we do it. Taking the time to solicit feedback, opens the door for hearing the perspectives of others and learning how to do things better. Asking this question may shed the light on changes that could take your organization to the next level, so to not ask this question could potentially be a big mistake.
We don’t do ourselves any favors by not asking the question, so, if you were me, what would you do differently?
photo by: SeanDrilinger