May 30

4 Questions You Should Ask to Elevate Your Leadership

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As a leader, how many times have you found yourself overwhelmed, spinning in circles and unsure of the right direction to take?

In a world that pushes us to succeed, get ahead and do more, it can become impossible at times to see the forest for the trees. We become so engrossed with the details of the individual tasks at hand or the problems we’re trying to solve that we lose sight of the overall purpose of the venture.

It’s in these moments we need to step back and assess what aspects we might be overlooking in order to gain clarity on the bigger picture. Today, I’m sharing with you four key questions you can ask yourself to elevate your leadership and gain critical insights on the overall health of your business:

1. What am I not paying attention to right now?

2. What could really be going on here?

3. What are the people around me really worrying about?

4. What are people not saying that needs to be said?

We’ll explore each of these questions and the powerful impact they can have on your perspective in business.

I encourage you to give it a go this week – ask yourself these crucial questions so that you can better understand yourself, your business and those you work with. And remember, embracing moments of stillness and introspection can foster clarity, innovation and a stronger connection with your business vision.

Transcript

Janine: [00:00:00] Hello, Janine Garner here. Welcome to another episode of Unleashing Brilliance. It's so fabulous to have you here again this week. If you are a regular listener, hello, hello. And if you're new to this podcast, thanks for tuning in. So today I want to talk about questions. You know, we talk a lot about [00:01:00] curious questioning and listening carefully to try and find the opportunities, but I'm curious.

I wonder, are you actually asking the right questions? Last year, I ran a business retreat in the stunning Byron Bay. This is in, uh, the amazing New South Wales of Australia. Byron by itself is just spectacular. And during one of our sessions, we undertook an experience called forest therapy. I don't know if any of you listening in I've ever done this, but for me, it was a first.

I had no idea what to expect, but my curiosity was piqued. and it really did push me to explore the experience that had actually promised to challenge my thinking and to challenge me mentally and spiritually. So I was curious. Little did I know that it would hold some valuable insights, not just into life or into my life, but also into my business as well.

[00:02:00] Now, for those of you that haven't done any forest therapy, essentially what it involves is walking through the lush rainforest in Byron Bay. And you walk through the rainforest very, very slowly, very, very intentionally and in complete and utter silence. with occasional guiding questions to encourage reflection.

Now at first we walked slowly and silently, one behind the other, simply observing our surroundings. And then we were asked to spend the next 10 minutes, and I quote, looking through the trees. So we were just sat Looking through the trees. And it was during that exercise that something profound happened.

You see, I noticed a world changing. That I'd previously missed. The forest itself [00:03:00] was teeming with life. Diverse trees, various shapes, a symphony of birds and wildlife. And what was surprising for me is I'd done that exact same walk for the past three days. But in my preoccupation with talking to whoever I was walking with, getting in my exercise for that day, hitting the early morning sunrise and trying to smash through my 10, 000 steps, I'd actually been completely absent.

I'd fail to see the bigger picture or appreciate the actual beauty of the forest as a whole. And it reminded me of that saying that you can't see a forest through the trees. You can't see the forest through the trees. And have you ever felt that way when you might be so engrossed with the details of the individual tasks at hand or the problems that you're trying to solve, that you lose sight of the overall purpose or the significance of This Forest [00:04:00] Therapy experience got me really thinking about how often in the speed of everyday life and working through our never ending to do list, that we forget to step back and take in the broader perspective, that maybe we're actually missing out on the critical insightson the opportunities

it's in these moments of overwhelm, I think, that it's crucial to pause and to ask ourselves some really important question. And here are just a few that I think might help you see the proverbial forest through the trees. I've got four questions for you to think about as you go through this week. The first question is this one.

What am I not paying attention to right now? Question number one, what am I not paying attention to right now? Taking a moment to step back and [00:05:00] assess what aspects you may be overlooking that might actually provide clarity on the bigger picture. This is what this question is all about. What do you need to notice?

What's really, really going on? answering this question allows us to recognize potential opportunities or challenges that might have escaped our focus. I can guarantee there are opportunities that are currently being overlooked in your business right now. I can absolutely guarantee it.

And if you're interested, I do have a tool that can help you with this. It's called My Focus Finder, and I'll put the link in the show notes. So question number one what am I not paying attention to right now? Question number two, what could really be going on here? If you want to go one step further here, what could really, really What could possibly be going on here?

Digging deeper [00:06:00] beyond the surface can reveal hidden patterns or underlying issues that might be affecting your current decisions and the current actions that you're taking. And understanding the root cause is essential for you to make decisions. Informed choices. This is not only an important reflection to do for yourself, but also when other people around you may start acting in a way that's not really congruent with who you know them to be.

This is an opportunity to get really curious instead of getting frustrated, I want you to think about what questions you might need to ask that if you got the answer to that question. So think about the questions that you might need to ask that you don't know the answers to right now. That if you were to get an answer to that question, it might actually give you the information you're looking for.

It might actually give you the information that you need to make a decision. Now, this question reminds me of a situation a few years ago. I was [00:07:00] mentoring, an amazing salesperson in a tech company. And during this particular session, she was airing her frustration at an individual, a previous high performer that had.

Was for some other reason, some reason or other wasn't performing anymore. and despite trying to give advice and tips and tools and having conversations around this, there was no change in the behavior. Her questioning was very transactional, very much around telling versus curiosity. She wasn't curious about what question was being asked.

Actually, she should be asking to give her the answer that she needed to try and work out what to do next instead she was asking the transactional questions, the expected questions. Anyway, we talked about this one question. And I challenged her to go back and try and find out because what she'd done is she'd actually started performance management, processes.

And so she'd gone through, the performance management [00:08:00] system within the company. She came back a couple of weeks later, mortified because through asking curious questions, through actually. Asking herself, what could really be going on here? This second important question, what could be really going on here?

What could be really, really going on here? And asking a question that would unlock the answer to that. she'd gone through, usual performance management, but instead of asking the question, she hadn't unlocked the answer. Two weeks later, she came back and told me what had actually been happening.

Sadly, this particular individual, his. parents were both aging and not very well in Europe. and he just couldn't focus. You know, he was preoccupied with looking after and caring for his parents and he just wanted to get home. And instead of helping him navigate that with a curious question by asking what could really be going on here, she'd been transactional and she started going through HR proceedings around performance.

[00:09:00] So this is what I mean about this second question. What could really be going on here? Understanding this root cause is essential for you to make informed decisions, and it requires you to think about the question that you would love to be answered, that you don't have the answer to right now, so that it can unlock that opportunity.

Question number three, what are the people around me Really worrying about what are the people around me really worrying about. As leaders and business owners, we need to really be attuned to the concerns and perspectives of our team and stakeholders, of our suppliers, of the people that work with us, of our clients.

By actively listening to their needs, we can actually create a much more inclusive and successful business. Business environment. So it's really important that you start attuning to their needs and you tune in to what's really going on. What are they really worrying about? The fourth [00:10:00] question for the final question is what are people not actually saying right now that needs to be said?

What are people not saying right now that needs to be said? You see, sometimes people may be hesitant to voice their concerns or their ideas openly. And creating a culture of openness and trust can encourage honest conversation, leading to these invaluable or these valuable insights and innovations. And this is why it's so important to ask open questions that dig a little bit deeper.

It's important to encourage someone when you can see them on that verge of a breakthrough. And I want you to remember that every single person in your world has their own perspective. On the problem, on the work, on the thing that you're doing, on the situation. Every single person in your world has their own value system that they are behaving by.

Every single person in your world has also got their own loyalty, their own sense of loyalty, their own person, people, things that they're loyal to. And most [00:11:00] importantly, here's the magic bit here is if you can try and uncover this, every single person has something they are worried about losing.

What is that? So remember, every single person has their own perspective, their own value system, their own sense of loyalty, and every single has something they are worried about losing. It could be power, it could be control, it could be being liked, it could be responsibility. being listened to. If you can find that thing that they are worried about losing, you are then able to meet them where they're at and have a very different conversation.

So those are the four questions. I'll repeat them again. and I want you this week to get curious, to try and use these in your conversation. In your conversations, to try and uncover what's really going on, to help you see the proverbial forest for the trees. Question number one, what am I not paying attention to [00:12:00] right now?

Question number two, what could really, really be going on here? Question number three, what are the people around me really worrying about? And question number four, what are people not saying that needs to be said? By incorporating these reflective questions into your everyday routine, you can actually elevate your decision making and your leadership skills.

Embracing moments of stillness and introspection can foster clarity, innovation, and a stronger connection with your business vision. Now, I appreciate that we're all often consumed by the day to day operations, yet it's crucial to intentionally step back. To have a moment, to gain some perspective, to look at that broader landscape.

Just as I discovered the magnificence of the forest, when I paused to [00:13:00] observe, our businesses can also flourish when we pause to gain a wider perspective. So give it a go this week. Which question do you need to ask yourself right now? The most right now. And what questions are you going to practice this week?

To try and uncover the answers that you are looking for. As always, please let me know what you loved about this episode. Ask away with anything you'd love me to cover, and please pass on this episode to anyone that you feel would find it useful. Until next week, have an awesome week.


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