Boost Your Leadership Skills By Disciplining Yourself In
The Way Of The Question Mark
I'm often asked to come in to organizations and give a motivational
speech to their employees. I reply that I'm not a motivational
speaker. Never have been. Never will be. Don't want to be.
I do something else. I teach their people how to become motivational
leaders. That's a far more productive endeavor.
The concept and application of motivation are misunderstood
in most organizations. The motivational industry is based
on a fundamental contradiction; because the focus of motivation
is misplaced. After all, leaders (salespeople included) should
be motivated. If they aren't, they shouldn't be leaders.
Here's where the focus should be: not on the leaders themselves
but on the people they lead. Can those leaders transfer their
motivation to other people so those people are as motivated
as they are about the challenges they face?
Furthermore: Can those people who "catch" the motivation of
their leaders then go out and motivate others -- and those
others go out themselves and motivate still others ... and
on and on?
Finally, can people at each phase of this "cascading of cause
leaders" translate motivation into action that achieves results
-- and not just average results but more results faster on
a continual basis?
I have written many articles on motivation and how to transfer
your motivation to others.
But there is another way of transforming your motivation to
others that doesn't take much explaining. It's surprisingly
simple, easy to use, and effective. Yet few leaders I've encountered
use it, and those who use it, don't use it well.
It's the Way of the Question Mark. A "way" is a course of
life one undertakes to advance in a particular discipline.
So it is with the Way of the Question Mark. It is not simply
a technique; you'll find it is actually a disciplined course
of life. (I've been using it for years and am still a long
way from mastering it. Because the question mark is often
particularly appropriate in a highly charged emotional situation.
However, in such situations, when strong emotions are getting
the better of me, it takes practice and discipline to step
back, gather my thoughts, and ask a question.)
Practicing the Way of the Question Mark can enhance your relationships
with the people you lead so you get a lot more results as
From now on in all your leadership endeavors, make a conscious
effort to put a question mark at what would otherwise be declarative
Asking the question rather than using a declarative is usually
more effective because it gets people reflecting upon their
situation. We can't motivate anyone to do anything. They have
to motivate themselves. And they best motivate themselves
when they reflect on their character and their situation.
The question prompts people to answer, and when they are answering,
they may engage in such reflection. You may not like the answer;
but often their answer, no matter what it is, is better in
terms of advancing results than your declaration. Also, their
answering the question may prompt them to think they have
come up with a good idea. People are less enamored of your
great ideas than they are of their ideas, even if those ideas
are simply average.
For instance, your organization needs to have people to from
point A to point B. An order leader might say, "Go from A
Practicing the Way, one might ask: "Tell me what you think
about going from A to B?" or "What's the best way for you
to go from A to B?" or "Tell me how I can support you going
from A to B?" or "How will you take leadership of others going
from A to B?"
Mind you, I'm not talking about pandering to people's whims.
I'm talking motivation, motivating people to get more results
faster on a continual basis. (In fact, you can't order people
to get more results faster continually. Only motivated people
can do it.) I'm talking about challenging people to undertake
extraordinary things, to be better than they think they are.
The question mark, as opposed to the simple declarative, opens
up a world of results-producing possibilities. And it's a
world predicated on their choices.
Make the Way of the Question Mark your way. Discipline yourself
to ask questions rather than make statements. You'll start
getting more results.
© 2006, 2007 The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights
The author of 23 books, Brent Filson's most recent
books are: THE LEADERSHIP TALK: THE GREATEST LEADERSHIP TOOL
and 101 WAYS TO GIVE GREAT LEADERSHIP TALKS. He is founder
and president of The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. - and for
more than 21 years has been helping leaders of top companies
worldwide get audacious results. Sign up for his free leadership
e-zine and get a free white paper: "49 Ways To Turn Action
Into Results," at http://www.actionleadership.com
For more about the Leadership Talk: http://www.theleadershiptalk.com
Article Source: http://www.upublish.info
Return to The Mental Game
of Coaching Articles directory.