Social constructionists will tell you that our words create our world. If our world is simply a function of our stories about it, then how we think and speak about our experiences holds the key to our ability to empower ourselves and influence others. Many leaders mistakenly assume that knowing the answers is their source of power. Quite the opposite.
Knowing the right questions to ask – then asking them – is the most powerful action a leader can take.
Framing up powerful questions, or what we’ll call the art of inquiry, that engage those around us in new ways of thinking often provides far more leverage for a leader than inserting their view as “the truth.”
Leaders are storytellers, crafting the vision of what can be, who we are and where we’ve been. They create the frame for the house we’re trying to build. The best leaders communicate brilliantly, yet often through asking more than telling. They dig deep to understand how organizations, markets, and systems work. They invite important stakeholders to share their stories on the “what” and the “why” that contribute to where we are. Through simple, yet poignant inquiry, leaders move us toward what’s possible. They also help us understand ourselves in profound ways, together and as individuals.
I believe that the portal from “what is” into “what might be” is inquiry, which opens into truthful dialogue. Dialogue is a deeper form of communication. It opens up what is most meaningful to us. It’s real talk about what really matters. This is a conversation of appreciation, deep listening, and candid sharing.
Dialogue enables us to speak about the stuff that counts: the meaning behind our lives and our actions. Leadership performance is not complete without anchoring it to an underlying sense of meaning. And inquiry takes us there.
So how does a leader begin to master inquiry? Great question. Look – you’re already doing it! [envoke_twitter_link]Inquiry begins with calling into question our assumptions and beliefs about why things are the way they are.[/envoke_twitter_link] This includes our own sense of self. Continually calling into question my motives, my needs, my stories connects me to the broader truth that my view is just one of many valid perspectives. Starting with myself also causes me to acknowledge how I have contributed, and still contribute, to the world outside myself. This acknowledgement is extremely powerful and will change your world.
When you develop a practice of inquiry into self, you can engage others with integrity about their unique stories. What do they see, feel, and believe about our collective experience? What is remarkable about the way things are, and what would make it even better?
Imagine what that level of curiosity and dialogue would do for your leadership, your team, your business. What would be possible?
I want to engage in that inquiry with you…[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”40px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row]