Source | www.forbes.com | Jeff Boss
Every leader or aspiring leader wants to be an effective leader. They want to know what they have to do or who they have to be to lead with impact and influence in order to have the voice and provide the value they envision. Many of my coaching clients want a 60-day plan that’ll somehow get them to where they want to be if they just follow the plan. While crafting a 60- or 90-day action plan is certainly a worthwhile process to go through, the assumption behind following such a plan is that leadership effectiveness is predictive. Meaning, that if you just follow the plan laid out before you, you’ll be the leader you envision.
It’s not that plans aren’t valuable. It’s what they promise that isn’t. I can’t think of any mission in the SEALs that actually went according to plan, but the process of planning certainly heightened everybody’s awareness. The truth is it’s oftentimes better to “travel” than to “arrive” because the process of traveling is actually a constant “arriving.” Go ahead, read that sentence again.
Some leaders might have a plan, others might not. But effective leaders—leaders that last—certainly learn from their actions and the actions of others–which is a process. Having said that, the most memorable leaders who I’ve encountered over the past 20 years show up with the following:
Effective leaders use questions as tools that serve two purposes: to help themselves learn and to help others learn. Leaders use questions to solicit guidance and explore others’ insights to learn more themselves (after all, the leader isn’t—or shouldn’t be—the person closest to the problem) and they use questions to challenge people to think so they can learn more. More than anything, effective leaders listen. They know that the questions they pose will be heard “throughout the ranks” so they’re smart about how and what questions they ask. This means they listen fully before conjuring up a question rather than planning what question to ask as people are talking.