My humanness wants to…get my point across…win the argument…get defensive…cast the blame…look past my own flaws…point out the fault in others…
I have a mentor who’s much wiser. He talks about leading through questions. I’m slowly learning.
Leading through questions benefits because it:
- Demonstrates humility
- Acknowledges I may not have all the answers
- Welcomes involvement from others
- Encourages conversation
- Provides greater opportunities for learning
- Allows for new ways to conquer problems
- Fosters ownership in others
In a great example of humility in leadership this week, Flint, MI Sheriff Chris Swanson took off his helmet, laid down his baton and asked protesters how he could help. He then joined the crowd in a march against systemic racism. There were other similar examples around the country as well.
Was every issue solved? No. But in that moment, tensions eased and solidarity was strengthened. It was a step towards understanding. A step towards reconciliation. Police and protesters united and a peaceful protest ensued. It was done through conversation.
This past week, Theresa and I shared a video on social media to encourage connection and communicate our love for the black community. We didn’t try to write a perfectly scripted PR statement. We didn’t want to just repost someone else’s thoughts either. We wanted to record something genuine, something from the heart, and something that can help bring unity. The video doesn’t try to address everything. It’s not a cure-all. But I believe in what we shared — True transformation cannot happen outside of relationship.
Relationships are about connection. Connection is strengthened through welcoming in and seeking to understand. And understanding is enabled through asking questions.
The end result? We’re better because of it.
If you want a better answer. Ask a better question.
“2020 isn’t over yet. It’s June. It’s halftime. We still got another half. We can still win it.” –Doc Rivers on Jon Gordon’s podcast