I was working with a group of business owners recently regarding 21st-century leadership. And let me just say — what an engaged and energetic group! These folks “get it.” This group represented a very diverse set of businesses, from a multi-million dollar business with three employees to very traditional enterprises with hundreds of employees.
What struck me about this group was their understanding of their role as leaders and the importance of coaching their people. We talked a great deal about 20th-century leadership versus 21st-century leadership. The group pointed out that in the 20th century, a manager’s job was to manage processes. In the 21st century, a manager’s job is to lead people.
We also talked a great deal about the importance of questioning versus providing the answers. A 20th-century manager provides good answers while a 21st-century manager poses good questions. There is a difference. A great leader asks great questions.
As a leader, are you providing answers or asking great questions? As your leadership continues to grow, it is important to realize “the genius is in the question.” Your role is not to be the answer book.
Your job, as a leader, is to lead. That might sound overly simplistic. However, while it sounds simple it is extraordinarily difficult. Fight the urge to provide answers. Develop the talent of asking great questions.