People grow into the conversations you create around them. The best tool great leaders have to strengthen and empower others is powerful questions. Questions evoke curiosity. They force others to think. And, when answered well, allow others to take ownership of the process and responsibility for the outcomes.
It has been said that powerful questions can steer any conversation away from problems and personalities and move them toward meaningful solutions. Powerful questions evoke insight, stir creativity, inspire collaboration and help craft a culture of accountability.
So, to that end, let me offer four questions that, when asked often and answered well, can help you intentionally craft a Remarkable!culture.
1. Are you creating more value than you are taking?
In life, you are going to assume one of two positions. Either you will seek to create value for others or you will position yourself to extract value for yourself. Good leaders inspire people to move beyond being value consumers (simply seeking “What’s In It For Me”) to value contributors.
Tip: Your pay grade is what you take from the organization. It’s the money and resources that you extract. But your value grade is what you bring to the organization. It may be measured in sales revenue, or it could be measured by the support rendered to others, contributions to creating a positive team spirit or inspiring others through exemplary service. Simply put, when your value grade exceeds your pay grade, you become invaluable to the organization.
2. Are you leaving a positive wake?
A boat going through water leaves a wake behind it. Our lives, too, leave a ripple as we cruise through various environments. That wake will either be positive or negative. We all have that person in our lives that we try to avoid. The one who sees a dark lining in every bright cloud; that person who saps our energy with their negativity. But we also have those individuals who brighten our day with their smiles and words of encouragement.
Tip: When you lay your head on your pillow each night, ask yourself, “What kind of wake did I leave in my world today?”
3. What problem are you solving?
The world is filled with problem identifiers. They are the complainers who cast aspersion and blame for something gone wrong rather than taking responsibility for resolving it. But, the best way to create value and the fastest way to make a positive wake is to find the biggest problem you can find and apply your passion and strengths to solve it.
Tip: Value creators are problem solvers. Period!
4. What part are you willing to own?
Ownership empowers people to take responsibility for creating value. When leaders allow team members to own the process rather than simply comply with the dictates of a command and control style of leadership, people are energized. Healthy people want autonomy and an opportunity to grow in self-mastery.
Tip: Let them “own it” and watch their emotional attachment to their work soar.