Are you asking all the wrong questions at work?

669435zWhat kind of leader are you? You’ll never guess where the answer lies, says uevolve career coach Lucinda Harlow

I do love a good quiz. A cup of coffee and a glossy mag promising to reveal all and I’m off. I cheat of course. We all do, don’t we? I mean, I know what ‘type’ I want to ‘be’ after totting up my score so that means a bit of clever tweaking of my answers.

You find out by learning how to shush. Seriously, many managers talk way too much and have no idea how to listen.

A quick peek at the ‘reveals’ is usually enough to let me know I have to tick just the right amount of A’s so I can sit back and ta da! I fit the most flattering description. Excellent.

If the quiz was ‘What kind of boss are you?’ you’d know the drill and be pleased with the ‘result’. You are the authentic/authoritarian/democratic/godlike leader you always knew yourself to be.

Fun for a coffee break but not much use back in your office, of course.

There’s really only one big question to revealing your boss style – and you need to be really, really honest with your answer…

How well do you understand the people you manage?
  • What’s going on when they hesitate to take on a task?
  • What motivates them when the chips are down?
  • What are the tell-tale signs they’re ticked off?

You find out by learning how to shush. Seriously, many managers talk way too much and have no idea how to listen. This essential art requires a very focused mind with no filling in the gaps, second-guessing or wondering what you’re going to have for tea. You need to zero in on that person and allow yourself to become absorbed by them.

The REAL reveal…

Okay, so here’s how you start that crucial conversation with a member of your staff. First ask what they feel they do well. This lets you know what they’re confident about and where they think their strengths lie. Then ask what they could start or stop doing to make themselves more effective in their role. Their answer is a good clue to what they’re worried about or even frightened of. So that’s where they need your support. Next comes a biggie, what could they do differently? If you’re really listening they should give you an honest answer, which will allow you to discuss how they can take control of their career. This naturally leads to another key Q – how would they like to be supported by you, the boss?

So now what kind of leader you are. You’re the one they need.

About the author

Lucinda is an Executive and Corporate Coach. You can reach Lucinda on: uevolve, LinkedIn, Twitter

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