Leadership: Habit of asking

Oct 20, 2007 by

Management has a lot to do with answers. Leadership is a function of questions. And the first question for a leader always is: ‘Who do we intend to be?’ Not ‘What are we going to do?’ but ‘Who do we intend to be?’
— Max De Pree

Above is a quote on the importance of character in leadership. I read about the quote from a leadership seminar by Dr. Albert Ting (principal of Singapore Bible College) today. He mentioned a lot about the importance of character in leadership.

Leadership is about being rather than doing, who you are is more important than what you do!

Dr. Albert Ting

One of many things that I learned today is the teachability character. He pointed out that as a leader, having a habit of asking is very important. You can anyone and anywhere, you can ask about their challenges and achievements, or even anything under the sun. Wherever you are, when you’re happened to sit next to each other, when you’re in the cab, or even when you do your haircut.

Not only he shared with us during the seminar, but I did see that in action, during our lunch and even inside the lift, somehow, he greets stranger inside the lift, and asking some stuffs.

The point is: Learn from everyone! everyone has their strength, they have their own unique experience, focus on their strength and you can learn a lot from them.

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  1. Engaging others in dialog through a “habit of asking” sounds like a great strategy. It shows the other person that you are interested in them and will encourage them to return the interest in you and what you have to say – a rule of reciprocity. Additionally, the “habit of asking” is a demonstration a lifelong dedication to learning, which is an important foundation for leadership.

    Leadership Jot

  2. Hello Robert,

    I can identify with you about being an introvert, according to Myers Brigg, and my understanding of myself, so am I.

    However, it is just a generalized label, one we can acknowledge and be aware of, to assist us in knowing what startegies we need to use in certain circumstances.

    However, it is not to take on any more importance than that.

    I do a lot of public presentations, as I love to share my knowledge and experiences to help people.

    I also know that after such an event, the way I need to recharge my batteries is to have quiet time away from people for a while.

    The amount of time will depend on the circumstances.

    After a presentation, if I need to socialize with clients, all I need is 15 minutes and I can go back and be with a crowd of people, because I have meditated and given peace to my inner being.

    A label is just to alert us, it is not to limit us.

    It is our choice whether we decide to allow certain beliefs to decellerate our growth or we accept total responsibiity for whom we are

    Great posting and I really enjoy your blog,

    Thank you


  3. Robert A.

    Hi Gloria, thanks for visiting!
    I second your opinion on introvert, I will say introvert is preference, it should not limit us, it’s just we prefer being alone as a way to refuel our energy. To be successful, we need to be extroverting, means learning to be comfortable being extrovert, it may not all the time, but at the times when it’s necessary for us.

    I do see that you must be experienced on that, as you have to do presentation and socialize with your clients. Looking forward to learn from you to do “extroverting” =)

    Really appreciate your comments!


  1. Links! | the art of leading - [...] Interesting way to look at leadership, over at Reason-2-Smile’s Weblog: Leadership: Habit of Asking [...]
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