I’m a firm believer that “giving starts the receiving process.” I believe the more we give, the more we will receive. While giving plays a key role in our fulfillment in life, I also believe there is an exception when we should shift from giving and focus on getting.
I will explain as I start by saying as leaders, we must focus on the development of other leaders. The only way a business can grow is to develop more leaders.
There has never been too many leaders throughout history. As we look around today, it is quite apparent.
Regardless of who you are leading, a parent leading their children, a leader among classmates, teachers in classrooms, supervisors at work, civic leaders over organizations, business owner over employees, the primary task remains the same.
In each of these roles, we are leading to get others to duplicate our efforts. We are teaching children to become independent and eventually become parents themselves. Teachers are adding to foundations. They are teaching students to come up with answers so they can grow and move on to the next grade. Supervisors are teaching employees how to do things the way they do things. The supervisor is successful when the employees can perform the tasks without constant supervision. The process continues upward. Owners are seeking to teach someone to take over their business when they retire so their legacies can live on.
In all these roles as leaders, we are teaching individuals to think and act the way we would in our absence. This is the true form of “duplication.” It is when we can duplicate our thoughts, actions, beliefs, and work ethic, that we can truly step away and our work will continue without us.
In coaching executives, the biggest obstacles include the business running them instead of them running the business. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Employees are coming to them for all the answers. The employees aren’t taking initiative. They aren’t thinking for themselves. I know parents that say the same thing about their children. Any of this sound familiar?
As a results coach, I can assure you, if any of these situations are familiar to you, the bad news is, it is your fault. The good news is it can be fixed.
If those you lead aren’t taking initiative or thinking for themselves it is because you are giving them the answers! I’ve sat in numerous offices, listening to owners complain about these situations only to be interrupted by an employee coming in with a problem that the owner immediately gives the answer. The employee apologizes for the interruption and leaves.
I explain to the owner that was a perfect example of why he’s working 80-100 hours a week, and no one thinks for themselves. He gives the answers and the employees are trained when there is a problem where to go for the answer.
I share if the owner wants things to change, he must change. Instead of giving answers, he must get answers. Our job as leaders is not to give answers, it is to get answers. Regardless of your role as a leader, from parent to business owner, when you are presented with a problem, you must shift from answering to asking.
Think back to grade school and you’re working on math problems. Your teacher helps you “find” the answer by asking questions. Let’s use the example (6+2) – 4 = ___. Where do you start first? With the parenthesis. Correct. So, what is 6+2? 8. Correct. Now, what is 8-4? 4. Correct. If you showed the teacher the problem and she answered 4, what did you learn? Nothing except to go to the teacher for the answers! The teacher knew, if she asked the right questions, she could draw the answer out of the student.
As leaders, we must do the same thing. If the teacher had asked what was 6+2 and got 7 as the answer, she would’ve asked MORE questions. Are you sure? If you have 6 and add 1 more what is that? 7. Right, so 6+2 can’t be 7. So, what would adding 2 to 6 give you? 8. Correct.
As the leader, if you know the answer, you can continue to ask questions to get the right answers. You can teach your followers how you think by asking better questions. As they answer your questions, they will begin to follow your thought process. Over time, they will begin to think like you and come to you less and less for help on routine problems.
By focusing on getting answers instead of giving them, you will spend more time developing and growing your people. In turn, your people will grow your business.
Remember, there is greatness within you. You must choose greatness. It won’t develop on its own. I believe in you!
“As a leader, you must ask better questions to get the right answers.”
Take Action Today!
If you would like assistance with shifting your focus to getting answers instead of giving them, I can help you. We can meet by phone, on Zoom, or in a place you deem safe with social distancing. Whether you choose me or someone else, a coach will expedite your results.
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Published by Bryan M. Balch, Results Coach
Helping Individuals and Businesses Achieve Desired Results