Are you an asker or a teller?
This seemingly simple question holds significant importance when it comes to driving a culture of empowerment and autonomy within your team.
In my opinion, there are four key reasons why adopting the role of an asker, rather than a teller, is vital to your leadership success. In this blog post, we will explore together the significance of adopting an asking approach in leadership and how it can empower teams, foster critical thinking, promote learning, and build trust.
Throughout my successful leadership coaching career I have witnessed the power of asking and how it leads to better business outcomes and creating a culture of collaboration and growth.
So, let me share with you what I have learnt and observed.
Embracing the Asking Approach:
When leaders continually provide answers and solutions for their team, they are training their team to just come and ask, instead of thinking for themselves. Inadvertently creating a cycle of dependency. Team members become continually reliant on the leader for the answers, resulting in a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This is the telling approach.
By transitioning to an asking approach, leaders encourage their teams to think for themselves, find solutions, and take ownership of their work. What does that look like? Instead of immediately offering solutions, leaders can ask questions that stimulate critical thinking, such as "What have you tried so far?" or "What do you think is the next step?" This shift empowers individuals, promotes autonomy, and engages team members on a deeper level.
Encouraging Critical Thinking:
By becoming askers, leaders cultivate an environment that fosters critical thinking. When team members are prompted to consider various approaches, they develop problem-solving skills and gain confidence in their abilities. Leaders can guide their teams by asking open-ended questions that encourage exploration and creativity. This approach enables individuals to view challenges from different perspectives, seek innovative solutions, and contribute their unique insights. Ultimately, this leads to more agile decision-making and drives meaningful change within the organisation.
Promoting Curiosity and Learning:
An asking approach within a team or organisation creates a culture of curiosity and continuous learning (both critical skills for our future world of work!). When leaders encourage team members to think for themselves and explore different possibilities, they instil a sense of curiosity that fuels growth. Curiosity stimulates a desire to learn, experiment, and seek out new knowledge and skills. As a leader who embraces and practises the asking approach you’re actively contributing to the development of your team members and ensuring their long-term success. Pretty cool when you think about it, right?
One of the key benefits of adopting an asking approach is the demonstration of trust in your team members' abilities. When leaders consistently provide answers, they unintentionally convey a lack of confidence in their team's capabilities. However, by asking questions, seeking input, and valuing their expertise, leaders convey trust and belief in their team members' skills and knowledge. This trust empowers individuals, boosts their confidence, and cultivates an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. We know that team members who feel trusted are more likely to perform at their best and contribute their utmost to the team's success.
Team and Business Reaching their Full Potential
The shift from being a teller to becoming an asker is essential for effective leadership in today's dynamic business landscape. By embracing the asking approach, leaders empower their teams, promote critical thinking, foster a culture of curiosity and learning, and demonstrate trust. This approach not only drives better business outcomes but also creates a collaborative and engaging work environment where individuals can thrive and reach their full potential. Whether you're a formal manager or an aspiring leader, incorporating the power of asking into your leadership style can make a profound difference to your team's success and overall organisational growth.
And, if that isn’t enough, here is one thing I always say to my coaching clients when it comes to their own career aspirations for growth - “You cannot reach up to take on more strategic work, if you aren’t prepared to share down by educating and empowering your team”.
So, what will it be?
Ready to cultivate a coaching approach to leading in your teams?
Reach out and let’s do a workshop together. Connect HERE.