SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How comfortable are you asking questions you don’t know the answers to?

  • Very — I have no problem asking questions about any topic: 84.4%
  • Somewhat — I don’t do it very often: 13.42%
  • Not very — I tend to only ask questions I know the answer to: 1.34%
  • Not at all — I avoid asking questions as much as possible: .84%

Questions lead to insight. Early in our careers, we’re trained to always have the answer. As we assume larger leadership roles, it is imperative that we lead the thinking rather than leading the work. Doing so effectively requires you to ask the questions you don’t know the answers to. In so doing, you can take the team beyond their current understanding of the world and lead them to explore new ideas, new opportunities, and new risks. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Do you consider your team to be high-performing?

  • Absolutely — we’re a very high-performing team: 41.84%
  • Kind of — we have moments of high performance: 47.11%
  • Not really — we rarely have high-performing moments: 6.05%
  • Definitely not — this team needs a lot of improvement: 5%

Be deliberate about high performance. Sometimes you get lucky and find yourself with a high-performing set of superstars on your team. More often than not, that’s not the case. If you want to get your team to be high-performing, you need to take deliberate steps to get them to that level. Things like succession planning, setting a vision, allocating work, and creating development opportunities will go a long way to upping your team’s game but you have to perform these activities rigorously, regularly, and in an intentional manner. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How frequently do you use storytelling to influence and lead people?

  • All the time — I’m constantly telling stories: 45.03%
  • Sometimes — I tell a story on occasion: 43.91%
  • Rarely — I’m not known for telling stories: 9.29%
  • Never — I don’t use stories at all to lead: 1.76%

Use the power of stories. Influencing and leading through stories is a tremendously powerful skill. While some may think storytelling is too much of an art or a soft skill, it’s actually a simple process and a skill you can readily build. Find examples of great stories and pay attention to how they’re crafted. The better you are at telling compelling stories, the more effective you’ll be as a leader. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How well do you balance the workload among the members of your team?

  • Very well — work is allocated fairly and effectively: 28.57%
  • Well — work allocations are fair for the most part: 61.9%
  • Not well — work allocations are often unfair and ineffective: 7.79%
  • Poorly — I have a great deal of difficulty allocating work: 1.73%

5 Considerations for Work Allocation. Balancing workload across your team is tricky business. As you do so, you need to consider 5 major aspects of workload distribution before you dole out assignments: priority, skill, availability, professional development, and personal interest. In considering all five of those elements you’ll not only allocate work more efficiently and effectively but you’ll also be building the skills of the members of your team in the process. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How well do you take to being “just a team member” and working alongside your team?

  • Very well — I easily transition into the role of team member: 58.76%
  • Well — sometimes I transition easily but other times I’m challenged: 34.4%
  • Not well — I have difficulty changing my mindset and being a team member: 5.77%
  • Poorly — I actively resist situations where I have to work alongside my team: 1.07%

Welcome to the team. It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a team member when you spend most of your days leading that team. If you have difficulty stepping into a team role and letting someone else lead, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. (read more…)