From professors to managers to mentors, I’ve had the opportunity to be inspired by some great leaders. When thinking about what they have in common, it’s easy for me to come up with some shared characteristics. They were all supportive, encouraging, charismatic, and motivated. They all had unique skills and valuable experiences under their belts.
But, personality traits aside, I identified one more common thread that ties all of my most memorable leaders together: the questions that they would ask me. Here are three questions to ask your own employees if you want to be seen as a better, stronger leader.
Great leaders know they have to motivate employees by painting a clear picture of where the job is heading and what is waiting for them down the road. Nothing motivates people in quite the same way as vision-casting for employees. If you can muster enough empathy for that employee, you know the job is a bit tedious.
A culture of trust yields higher engagement, happier employees, greater productivity, and higher profits. And it all starts in the brain.
“We need to discover anew what makes free-enterprise capitalism what it has been: the most powerful creative system of social cooperation and human progress ever conceived. We next need to rethink why and how we engage in business to better reflect where we are in the human journey and the state of the world we live in today.” —John Mackey
Call it intuition, call it gut instinct, it doesn’t really matter. We’ve all experienced it in some way. My intuition has saved my life three times. And if I had listened to it more, it would have saved me a lot of grief and money over the years.
In business it manifests with people, deals, projects, opportunities, customers – so many ways. We get a feel for what is going on with no real information, just a sense of what is going on and what we need to do about it. But for many people, the ability to hear and feel their intuition is a lost skill.
Thomas grew up in Georgia, the son of a self-taught electrician and a secretary. He credits his parents and humble background for shaping his work ethic and values, qualities that helped him work his way up to the chief executive position of Rapid7, a corporate network security company that serves nearly half of the Fortune 1000. It makes for greater communication, because it helps managers and others deliver feedback in a constructive way.
New innovations can seem like they come out of nowhere. How could so many people have missed the solution to the problem for so long? And how in the world did the first person come up with that solution at all? In fact, most people who come up with creative solutions rely on a relatively straightforward method: finding a solution inside the collective memory of the people working on the problem. That is, someone working to solve the problem knows something that will help them find a solution — they just haven’t realized yet that they know it. When doing creative problem solving, the statement of the problem is the cue to memory.
During his tenure, he helped grow the company from 28 stores to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents. He now dedicates a large part of his time to the development and education of future leaders and has been a longtime advocate of Servant Leadership. Behar was asked by Fox how more companies are able to create workplaces where employees’ voices matter and people thrive.
Dr. Jim Laub, a leadership scholar and president of OLAGroup, has done extensive research on servant leadership’s impact on human performance. His original studies set out to find out the answer to three questions:
How is servant leadership defined?
What are the characteristics of servant leadership?
Can the presence of these characteristics within organizations be assessed?
Think about your day-to-day interactions in the workplace: Specifically, how do you react to the question, “How are things going?” We bet that, more often than not, your response is, “I’m so busy” — or words to that effect.
In fact, society has reached a point at which saying “I’m so busy!” is the standard response and has even become a kind of badge or symbol of importance — “Of course I’m busy; I’m important!”
This is not a healthy trend, especially considering how an emphasis on being “busy” has trickled down from company leadership to general staff. Today, all levels are displaying this behavior: Employees who rank lower and earn less are just as fixated as executives on staying busy — or at least appearing to be.