What Is The Most Powerful Leadership Skill?
If someone asked you, "What is the most powerful leadership skill", how would you answer? The answer varies depending upon how people think about leadership.
Most of what I have found, people tend to answers that relate to motivating people. Skills like persuasion or casting a vision.
Those are valuable skills that are extremely beneficial, but I believe the most powerful leadership skill is...
To many, that may sound strange, even crazy, but let me provide you the reasons why I see Asking Questions as the most powerful leadership skill - and even relationship skill.
Questions can engage the mind; answered or not
When someone asks you a question, what happens? In fact, I just did it to you. It does not have as much impact in written form as it does in personal communication, but it will still work. You are more than likely will read further to see what the answer is to that question, right?
Our minds are wired to want to know or learn. So, when a question is asked, your mind is engaged to pursue the answer, even when the topic is not all that important to you.
Making statements will only engage a person's mind to the degree that you have engaged them, so questions help your statements be more effective.
Try it and see what happens. Stop depending on being persuasive through statements and work on asking relevant, simple, and important questions. You will see the power of questions and may even come to believe it is the most powerful leadership skill.
Questions can encourage growth and discovery
Because your mind wants to know the answer, you can use questions to energize your own growth or the growth of those around you. Learn to observe what is happening and be curious about it.
One of the biggest obstacles to asking questions is how often we assume that we know the answer. It is so easy to speculate, assume, or opine about an issue or a person's actions rather than ask questions to discover the facts. When you don't use the most powerful leadership skill, you have to rely on your ability to speculate and even try to read a person's mind.
Questions can help you see how other people think
This is probably the most valuable element of asking questions for leaders. In order to persuade, it is extremely beneficial to understand how people think.
Asking questions does that, especially if you use Observational Listening. Yes, people can lie to you, but if you ask enough questions and picture what people say, it becomes rather evident that something does not "add up."
When asking questions, always be thinking the Ultimate Question
Finally, when asking questions, sometimes the question you ask is bad. Most of the time it is easy to tell, because the person is having a difficult time with it. That means you need to always be thinking the "Ultimate Question" which is...
"What's a better question to ask?"
When you develop your listening and asking questions skills, you have developed some very powerful, yet highly underrated skills.
Try asking questions to see if you might agree that it is the most powerful leadership skill. Or, just let me know what you think is more powerful.