Monday, February 28, 2011

Great Leaders Act Like a Teacher - Master the Art of Skillful Questioning

In my previous posts, I drew parallels between leadership and teaching. I have deep regard for the skills of a good teacher and good leaders seem to naturally integrate teacher skills into leadership.

This past week, my plan to discuss the five critical behaviors of a teacher take a small detour, the results of an interesting and related post by Mike Myatt on the N2Growth blog. In Overcoming Hero Leader Syndrome Myatt proposes that hero leaders who need to swoop in to save the day, are not doing well for their employees or organizations. He proposes,
Great leaders don’t subscribe to a “Do-It-For-You” methodology of talent management, rather they lead, mentor, coach, and develop team members by getting them to buy-into a “Do-It-Yourself” work ethic.
Myatt stress that great leaders are always teaching, always coaching, always mentoring.

A key tool for the leader in this teacher role is the art of questioning. Myatt offers five tips to enhance your skills in questioning:
  1. Be sincere in your questioning.
  2. Learn to ask effective questions.
  3. Use questions to stimulate and challenge.
  4. Get personal in your questioning.
  5. Demonstrate your competency without giving the answer away.

I recommend the Michael Myatt blog post to learn tips on the use of questions in leadership. These tips remind me of the lead-by-questions approach proposed by Minnesota author Gary Cohen in his book Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions. I first wrote about Gary's book in Just Ask Leadership - Do You Look Good from Below.

The final paragraph of the Myatt post was a great reminder about the role of teaching in great leadership.
If you want to become a great leader, master the art of teaching and coaching through the application of skillful questioning.

The quote clearly defines the type of link between leadership and teaching that I have discussed in recent posts, Great Leaders Should Behave Like a Teacher and Great Leaders Act Like a Teacher - Lead to an Objective.

Thanks for reading. Lead quietly and act like a teacher with skillful questions.


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