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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, March 18, 2017 10:01 pm

Asking questions vital to your team's success

Lisa Green | The Journal Gazette

When you really want to know what’s going on with the department, business or organization you manage, just ask.

It seems simple, but it probably doesn’t happen enough.

Sometimes leaders rely on intuition – or experiences – to assess a situation, environment or someone they work with. That works wonderfully – some times.

But there are occasions where the approach is flawed and fails.

A series of events or changes that might seem connected aren’t always closely knit – if they have any tie at all.

Asking can easily and quickly remove any uncertainty. It provides a big, more accurate picture, at least when there’s enough professionalism, shared interests and transparency among leaders and people on the team or within an organization.

Nothing beats asking. It doesn’t have to come across as an inquisition, but valuable information gathering. The approach can lead to crucial – and sometimes emotionally difficult – conversations. But nothing is more difficult or potentially damaging than when leaders try to quietly analyze something or someone and later realize they didn’t have enough data or information because their circle of communication didn’t involve enough or the right people.

Two important C’s: Communication and Context.

One great result: Clarity.

Disrupt status quo

Leaders and organizations should embrace re­invention to stay ahead of rapid changes in the workplace, the author of a new book suggests.

Glenn Llopis, who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, released "The Innovation Mentality: Six Strategies to Disrupt the Status Quo and Reinvent the Way We Work" in February.

To attract top talent and compete in multigenerational and multicultural markets, employers must value diversity, identify opportunity and performance gaps, avoid "complacency and unknowingly creating tension."

"Leaders claim to want innovation but they keep managing by the templates of old," Llopis said in a news release about the book. "These templates see people as cost centers not profit centers. The result is dysfunctional, tension-fueled workplaces that make it difficult to drive sustainable growth."

Llopis, a consultant, founded the Center for Hispanic Leadership Academy. He is also the author of "Preparing U.S. Leadership for the Seismic Cultural Demographic Shift: Returning America’s Corporations to New Growth and Innovation Greatness."

Having influence

The tease for Ram Charan’s latest book promises:

• How to make "exponential leaps in your capability and capacity."

• How to collaborate with your employer on a customized development path.

• When to make the right career move or recover from a wrong one.

"The High Potential Leader: How to Grow Fast, Take on New Responsibilities, and Make an Impact" was released last month by Charan. The author co-wrote "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done" with former Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy.

"The old rules of HR and leadership development are being drastically overhauled when it comes to job promotions, hierarchies, retention strategies, rewards and the pace of moving people along the leadership track," a news release about the book says. "New and more flexible practices are arising as well as new organizational problems and politics caused by younger high potentials managing older high seniority employees."

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at