#096: What Leaders Need Even More Than the Right Answers [Podcast]

When I started out in my career, the key to success was having the right answers. Those who advanced in their careers the quickest were seemingly the ones who had the most answers.

While this is definitely important in some situations—especially when responding to the people you are accountable to—it is not the key to success as a leader. There is something even more important than having the right answers.

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If you are going to be a successful leader, you have to get better at asking good questions. You need this skill more than you need more answers. Here are seven tips for asking better questions.

  1. Ask open-ended questions.
  2. Get behind the assumptions.
  3. Get both sides of the story.
  4. Ask follow-up questions.
  5. Get comfortable with “dead air.”
  6. Help people discover their own insights.
  7. Understand the difference between facts and speculation.

Finally, when you are asking questions, take notes. It communicates tremendous respect for the the person you are interviewing. It is also very helpful when things get quiet. You can go back over your notes and discover new questions you haven’t yet thought about or asked.

Listener Questions

  1. Blake asked, “Do you see the roll of blog comments changing in the future and if so, how?”
  2. Christina asked, “What program did you use to create your Inside My Toolbox resource?”
  3. Michael asked, “How can I squeeze the most out of the conferences I attend?”
  4. Ted asked, “How do you write blog posts that emotionally connect with your readers?”

Special Announcements

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    This is a terrific way to cross-promote your blog or website, because, if I use your question on the show, I will link to it.

Tip of the Week

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a screencast is worth ten thousand! That’s why I often take screenshots or record a quick screencast for my colleagues or students, whenever I am trying to explain something.

I have used SnagIt from TechSmith for several years. It is available for both Mac and Windows. They have just recently updated it, and it is beautiful, easy-to-use, yet powerful.

SnagIt allows you to record both screenshots and screencasts with one simple tool. You can upload them to the TechSmith website with one click and then send the link to share it.

It has tons of tools built into annotate your images, from arrows, to text, to special purpose stamps. You can also apply borders, drop shadows, and even a perspective to it.

Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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Question: What are some questions you have found useful as a leader? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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