On a + note


“You are doing a great job.” #31: 2013

Posted in on a + note by flickfancy on August 5, 2013

kitty#31Being a leader is all about discipline, self-awareness, great communication and often it’s about asking the right questions or simply saying the right thing.  Below are eight great opening questions that will empower your leadership and open lines of communication with the board, employees, the community and even your family.

For example, have you tried…

  1. “Here’s what I’m thinking.” This is a powerful conversation opener because often as library leaders we have the idea in our head, but not on paper. As a result folks don’t know where the library is headed. Sharing your vision is an ongoing and constantly changing discussion. And it’s fundamental to good leadership.    
  2. What do you think?”  This question invites conversation and opens the door to innovative ideas. It is also a great way to remind yourself and employees that you don’t have all the answers.
  3. “How am I doing?”  This is the favorite question of the effervescent Ed Koch as he asked for feedback and candid comments from fellow New Yorkers.  I like this question because it also encourages folks to be truthful and offer authentic comments. The key is you need to listen and then follow through.
  4. “What lessons did you learn?” This maybe one of my favorite questions as it instantly shifts the conversation into learning mode not blaming mode! It also builds staff confidence and thinking skills.
  5. “How can I help you?” At GPL we use this question at all department meetings. It is not about how great you are or what great stuff you have accomplished, rather it is about how peers can assist you. For the supervisor, this question sends a very clear message that it is all about teamwork.
  6. “What are our customers saying?”  This question opens up a conversation about our most important folks (our customers) and encourages employees to watch and learn from them.
  7. “How is that working for you?” is the classic Dr. Phil question, easily dismissed as patronizing, but can be very effective when you want an introspective conversation with an employee or friend. It also works well on teens…for a while!
  8. You’re doing a great job” Most employees in and outside library land complain they don’t get any feedback from their boss. By endorsing staff efforts on the spot, you are providing employees with the immediate feedback they want and truly deserve. It also recognizes your commitment to excellence and interest in what they are doing. On a personal note, I try and use this phrase at least once a day. Whether it’s walking the dog or drafting a new policy, positive reinforcement is a powerful tool.

So there you have it – eight great questions that will empower your leadership skills and make your job more interesting! I hope you take a few of them for as test drive.

Have a swell week “You are doing a great job”….lol

Kitty Pope                                                                                              #31 August 2013

kpope@library.guelph.on.ca

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