The New Necessity for Leadership Success

There is no secret to success, but some qualities and behaviors make success more likely.

the higher you go, the more questions matter

25 qualities and behaviors that make success more likely:

  1. Intelligence.
  2. Authenticity.
  3. Talent.
  4. Sociability and connections.
  5. Resilience.
  6. Seeing the big picture.
  7. Hard work.
  8. Starting.
  9. Finishing.
  10. Inspiring others.
  11. Focus.
  12. Vision.
  13. Surrounding yourself with talent.
  14. Solving problems
  15. Adding value.
  16. Serving.
  17. Passion.
  18. Leveraging strengths.
  19. Receiving help.
  20. Having mentors and coaches.
  21. Understanding people.
  22. Courage.
  23. Candor.
  24. Transparency.
  25. Compassion.

The new necessity for leadership success:

When asked recently to name the one attribute CEOs will need most to succeed in the turbulent times ahead, Michael Dell, the chief executive of Dell, Inc., replied, “I would place my bet on curiosity.HBR

Early in your career, you provide answers.

The higher you go, the more questions matter.

5 tips for crafting powerful questions:

  1. Enable openness. Ask questions that begin with what, how, when, and where. Avoid why.
  2. Touch imagination. Use metaphors in your questions.
    • What would it look like if you hit a homerun?
    • If you cut the sandbags from your balloon, where would you go?
    • How might you navigate stormy seas?
  3. Include action. Use terms like, doing and trying. What did you do that made this come together?
  4. Add time to questions.
    • When will you try that?
    • What’s next?
    • What worked last time? What didn’t work?
  5. Change perspective with questions.
    • What would you say if you were the CEO?
    • What might your colleagues say about this?
    • What challenges are direct reports facing?

I listen for the questions leaders ask. Sometimes, sadly, I don’t hear any.

Which qualities or behaviors in the above list seem most important to you? What might you add?

How might leaders ask better questions?


I’m delighted to partner with Clarity Development Consulting to offer the proven “Coaching for Engagement” program. Drop me an email if you’d like to explore having Bob Hancox and me come to your organization to develop the coaching skills of your team.