I received a review copy of Just Ask Leadership by Gary B. Cohen and I've been marking it up since it arrived.
This is more than a book with a lot of good questions in it. It digs a little deeper and helps leaders know WHY asking questions is a good idea. Employees respond better to a well thought out question rather than being told what to do. Cohen offers the reader a guide to "question-based leadership."
The one question that stood out to me from the beginning was this:
What happens if you don't do your job well?
This question got me thinking about what it means to be excellent, what I could do better, and what would happen if I continually failed in my role. All that from one question.
Just Ask Leadership is broken down into five chapters that provide quality questions, as well as, timely examples of the powerful leadership capacity each question tries to elicit.
1. Improve Vision - Gaining insight from all levels of the organization
2. Ensure Accountability - Increasing team and organization-wide performance
3. Build Unity and Cooperation - Creating a culture of trust
4. Create Better Decisions - Getting the right answers by asking the right questions
5. Motivate to Action - Asking for success.
Each chapter begins with a list of the questions covered in that chapter (between 20-30) and then offers a short explanation for each one. I especially appreciated the list of questions for Chapter 4. Cohen breaks down his decision-making questions into three categories: Context (Whose decision is it?), Clarity (How can I avoid getting "wishy-washy" answers?), and Objectivity (We've always done it that way, but why?).
I liked the philosophy behind Cohen's question-based leadership. A leader doesn't ask questions because he or she is always looking for an answer. Rather, leaders asks questions because they "know that questions lead to fresh ideas, committed action, and the creation of a new rank of leaders."
I encourage you to pick up the book. Once you've worked through it, you'll be better equipped to ask, not tell. If you are interested, you can visit this Amazon link: Just Ask Leadership.