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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Ask the Right Questions


Over the next week I’ll be presenting an in-depth review of Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Ask the Right Questions by Barry Cohen (McGraw Hill, September 2009). This is a book worth buying and discussion with both senior and emerging executives.

This is the FIRST of several posts on Just Ask Leadership.

Introduction: If you have to give an answer or ask a question, just about any executive coach worth his or her salt would suggest asking the question. One distinct problem with very successful people is that they think they already know the answers…all of them! Just ask them. Think of question-based leadership—NOT—answer-based leadership.

Marshall Goldsmith (leading coach in the US, best-selling author, and the fellow who wrote the foreword to my book on coaching) would not only agree but underline that statement in red letters. By asking questions, leaders learn what others are thinking and by doing allow them to grow. Cohen covers 5 key areas of leaders by asking—then answering a dozen or more questions about the following areas:

--Improve Vision—Getting Insights form All Levels of the Organization
--Ensure Accountability—Increasing Team and Organization-wide Performance
--Build Unity and Cooperation—Creating a Culture of Trust
--Create Better Decisions—Getting the Right Answers by Asking the Right Questions
--Motivate to Action: Asking for Success

Over, the next week I’ll cover all five of these areas—and give a few of the many examples Cohen provides.

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