The leader’s secret weapon

Peter Drucker famously said, “My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.”

Your secret weapon is curiosity.

5 Tips

  1. Curious leaders stop having all the answers and start having all the questions. The problem with answers is they don’t teach you anything. In some ways, answers end thinking.
  2. Curious leaders reflect healthy confidence. Weak leaders don’t ask question for fear of looking weak. If you want to look strong while asking a question say, “Tell me more.”
  3. Curiosity energizes and ennobles. Thoreau said, “The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”  Listening lifts people.
  4. Curious leaders demonstrate interest in others and by so doing they instill hope. Napoleon explained that, “A leader is a dealer in hope.”
  5. Curious leaders express knowledge. Good questions demonstrate you understand the situation and the challenges.
  6. Bonus Tip: Ask the hard questions.

5 Warnings

  1. Too many questions without answers reflect weakness.
  2. Some questions put others on the hot-seat. Allow prep time for technical questions.
  3. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. However, you probably should want to know.
  4. Ask “what” questions first and “how” questions later. Leaders are concerned about what is currently being done or not done and what should be done tomorrow.
  5. Don’t answer your own question. That’s just rude.

“A leader has to show curiosity. He has to listen to people outside of the “Yes, sir” crowd in his inner circle. The inability to listen is a form of arrogance. It means either you think you already know it all, or you just don’t care.” (Where have all the Leaders Gone, by Lee Iacocca).


What blocks curiosity in leaders?

What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of being a curious leader?



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