Success Monday: Leaders Ask Questions

Perhaps you own your own shop, or perhaps you work for someone else. No matter what your station in life—professionally or personally—you can choose to be a leader—one that others look up to and admire. One of the habits that will help get you there, says sales and leadership guru Mark Hunter, is to be inquisitive. Never stop learning.

“If you have kids, you remember the time in their lives when all they did was ask you questions.  When my son Chris was 4 or 5 years old, he couldn’t go 10 minutes without asking “why?”

We couldn’t be in the car more than a minute before he would start asking me about something he saw outside. Yes, this was before there were DVD players in cars and electronics in their hands!

What was amazing was he asked each question with sincerity of wanting to know something. That’s the amazing thing about kids. They’re not encumbered by expectations.  They’re not driven by ego and they certainly don’t feel any level of intimidation.

Something funny (and kind of sad) happens as kids grow up: Ego, pride and everything else come onto the scene and limit the questions they ask. Generally speaking, this happens to all of us, right? But there is so much to be gained if we DON’T lose that ability to ask questions (or if we regain the ability after we’ve lost it!).

As leaders, we need to be asking more questions. Leadership is not expressed by proclamation. Leadership is expressed by lifting others up to be leaders. This is regardless of who you’re talking to. The objective is the same if you’re speaking to a customer, a peer or an employee.

Our goal is to ask questions in all situations, whether it be sitting across from a customer or coaching an employee.

Make it your goal to ask questions with whomever you encounter. Two things occur when you ask questions. First, you engage the other person, and in so doing, you increase their self-worth. Second, you learn by hearing what they have to say.

The leader who does not ask questions is not a leader. They’re at best a manager, and in the worst case, they’re a control freak, driven by their ego rather than a desire to genuinely connect and help.”

—Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is author of “High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.” He is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects and close more profitable sales. To get a free weekly sales tip, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com.