At Unbound, we talk a lot about leadership. And we talk about questions. How do these two things work together in a young adult’s life?
Let’s explore why asking questions can make you a better leader, even if you’re just starting out in your leadership journey.
1. Questions Inspire Vision
Vision is a fundamental part of leadership. It’s the ability to see what doesn’t exist yet, make a plan for bringing it into existence, and gather a group of like-minded people around the vision.
Questions are at the heart of vision. Vision asks “what could be?”. Making a habit of asking questions and looking for potential in everyday places will develop strong visionary skills, which are fundamental to leadership.
2. Questions Drive Problem-Solving
Leaders must be problem solvers.
Of course, leadership is far more than solving problems but it is not less than that. The competent leader knows how to explore the true nature of the problem in front of them so they can find an appropriate solution.
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Questions drive this problem-solving process.
Oftentimes, people narrow their focus when faced with a problem. They see the problem and try to immediately come to a solution rather than first getting a full view and understanding of the problem. Asking questions can prevent this early mis-step.
Learning to ask questions before developing solutions will help leaders take the first step in competent problem solving: understanding the problem correctly.
3. Questions Build Empathy
Empathy and emotional intelligence are core traits of leaders. Leaders lead people and therefore, it’s essential that they understand people, especially the people they are directly leading.
Building empathy and emotional intelligence comes naturally to some while others have to work harder at it. Either way, it is something you can develop and learn.
Questions are an important tool in the toolbox of empathy. Questions help us understand and put the focus on others rather than on ourselves all the time.
4. Questions Encourage Critical Thinking
Finally, leaders can build strong critical thinking skills through a habit of asking questions.
Asking a question that leads to an answer that leads us to a better question is a great process for establishing critical thinking. A question-based paradigm like this also builds critical thinking by putting the focus on an ever-increasing understanding of the situation rather than an emphasis on final answers as fast as possible.
Leaders who can think critically and use discernment are much needed in all areas of our society today. Asking questions and following through with a better question is a great way to build that in-demand critical thinking.
Interested in helping your student build critical thinking, leadership, and question-asking skills? You should look into Unbound’s Ascend program which teaches students core life skills like these while they gain experience in the real world, connect to Christian community, and earn college credit! Schedule a free consultation today.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.