One of the most defining moments in my current leadership trajectory was when I found my question. I was seriously doubting my ability to lead a team, mostly because I had just seen Geoffrey Canada speak - one of the most charismatic people I've ever seen - and while I identified him as a great leader, I didn't see any of myself in him. I wasn't charismatic, I wasn't a visionary. I wasn't loud. How could I lead a team towards a BIG vision if I wasn't any of these things? One of my mentors put me in touch with one of the foremost experts of management consulting in the nation, and I spent twenty minutes on the phone with him sharing with him this very problem. He told me something I will never forget:
The world doesn't need more charismatic leaders. The world needs leaders who get up every morning asking themselves: How can I clear a pathway for my people?
That resonated. I had a question that I could lead from and give structure to.
My question has shifted and changed since, but I always have a question. I recently came across three questions that resonated with me, as well:
What am I not saying that needs to be said?
What am I saying that’s not being heard?
What’s being said that I’m not hearing?
Einstein has a quote: If I was given an hour to solve a problem, I would use 55 minutes to craft the perfect question.
Leadership is the same - find questions that resonate with you that you can ask yourself on a daily basis that guide your own leadership philosophy.