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7 Reasons Why People Who Love Asking Questions Are Great Leaders

7 Reasons Why People Who Love Asking Questions Are Great Leaders

Good leaders challenge, inspire, and guide others, great leaders learn from them.

From Steve Jobs to Richard Branson, some of the greatest entrepreneurs have cited the power of pointed questions as critical to their success.

To quote Carl Sagan, “There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

Rejoice inquisitive minds, you are the world’s future great leaders.

Here are 7 reasons why people who love asking questions make awesome leaders:

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1. They Can Empathize

At its core, leadership requires emotional intelligence and empathy- you have to understand others to lead them. People who love asking questions have a thirst to better relate to those around them. This demonstrated empathy allows you to learn people’s strengths and weaknesses, which in turn allows you to put them in the best position to succeed.

2. They Aren’t Afraid to Get Help

When Steve Job was 12, he personally called Bill Hewett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard, and asked for spare parts for a frequency counter. Hewett not only agreed to send him the parts, but gave him a summer job at HP assembling frequency counters.

“I’ve never found anybody who didn’t want to help me when I’ve asked them for help,” said Jobs.

The willingness to ask for help that gave Jobs the nerve to look up Hewett’s name in the phonebook is evident throughout his time at Apple. From Woz to Jony Ive, Jobs always knew when to rely on extremely talented people to help him execute his vision.

There’s only so much you can do – even for Steve Jobs, it never hurts to ask.

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3. They Never Stop Learning

If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Those who ask questions understand how critical it is to be a student of life. No matter how much information is accessible via our adjacent smartphones, the best way to learn anything is to just ask someone. Inquisitive minds are sponges that never stop soaking up the world around them.

Sound like an informed person that you’d want to lead you?

4. They Are Confident But Humble

To ask a question is to admit that you don’t know everything in the world that there is to know. But guess what? Nobody does.

Humble leaders that are willing to admit they aren’t all knowing deities don’t show weakness, they earn respect.

When you ask a question you actually end up displaying confidence that you are secure enough to admit there is something you don’t know.

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5. They Are Able to Frame Problems (and solutions)

Albert Einstein once remarked that if he had an hour to solve a problem and his life depended on it; he’d spend the first 55 minutes determining the question to ask, because once he had the right question it would only take him five minutes to solve the problem.

There is a tremendous power in asking why? in order to get to the heart of a problem and determine what it is you are really trying to accomplish.

Innovation is born from leaders that understand how to look at problems differently by reframing them with questions.

6. They Are Great Listeners

Great leaders understand the breadth of insight gained from asking the right questions and truly listening to your team’s answers.

The first thing on Richard Branson’s blog list of 5 tips for starting a successful business was that you should listen more than you talk.

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“Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice,” writes Branson, ”This can mean following online comments as closely as board meeting notes, or asking the frontline staff for their opinions as often as the CEOs. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them”

7. They Don’t Have Tunnel Vision

In leadership positions, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision based on your own perspective and the associated biases. Investigative questioning frees leaders from the siloed view of their own position by exposing them to other points of view.

Featured photo credit: Creative Commons via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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