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6 Questions that Can Make You a Better Leader

6 simple questions to become a better leader

I was recently interviewed by Inc. magazine’s Leigh Buchanan about THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead and she focused on the Leadership section of the book. Buchanan wanted to know some of the most effective questions leaders can and should be asking. There are dozens of leadership questions featured in the book, but in our interview, Leigh and I settled on six questions in particular.

The first is a two-part question: Why do I want to lead, and why would people want to be led by me? The answer to the first question should also work as an answer to the second; if it doesn’t, you may be pursuing leadership for selfish reasons. Another question featured in our interview is, What is my code? By this, I’m referring to a code of ethics and values that a leader lives by.

While those first two questions are ones that a leader should ask him/herself, the other four featured questions are ones that should be asked of others—specifically the people you are leading. Effective leaders pair the following two questions together: What is the biggest challenge you are facing?, and How can I help? If you ask people about challenges you’ll learn what they’re trying to achieve—and what’s getting in the way. That naturally leads into the “help” question, which former Campbell CEO Doug Conant calls “the ultimate leadership question.” (But don’t ask it unless you really are willing to help.)

The last two questions on the list are, What are we doing right?, and Is it clear what we’re doing and why? That first question is intended to move the conversation toward the positive (because people too often tend to focus on what’s going wrong). The second question is designed to see if people understand the organization’s mission and the rationale behind its actions and policies.

The above is a very condensed version of the interview. You can read the full article here on

Last chance to get an advance set of your own “Q cards”

Get your Q cards while you can!

As you may have seen in the last newsletter, I’ve been running a promotion offering a reward for preordering The Book of Beautiful Questions. The prize is a set of Q cards, 40 cards that contain about 200 questions from the book.

Each print-at-home card is designed for a specific situation, such as best questions to ask when considering a new job; trying to overcome creative block; trying to build a relationship with someone you’ve just met, and so forth.

There’s about a week left until the book officially goes on sale on Oct. 30, so this is your last chance to preorder the book. You can order the book on Amazon or elsewhere, and show proof of purchase by going to this special form, provided by my publisher, BloomsburyUSA:
Last month, we had close to 60 people preorder the book and show their proof of purchase to get their Q cards, and we thank you all for your enthusiasm. Here’s hoping more of you jump on the preorder bandwagon to get your Q cards these last few days before publication.

Can Anybody Find Me Some “Question Songs” to Love?

Spotify "QUESTION SONGS" playlist

Watching the trailer for the new film about the rock band Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody, it occurred to me that one of my favorite Queen songs revolves around a question: (Can Anybody Find Me) Somebody to Love? Of course, the official title of the song is just “Somebody to Love,” but nevertheless I consider it to be a “question song” (meaning a song that has a question as its title, or that centers on a question), so I am adding it to my growing list.

I began composing this list a few years ago while I was writing A More Beautiful Question. Then I turned it into a Spotify playlist, featured on the AMBQ website, with dozens of songs on the list. (Such as: Who wrote the book of love? What’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding? Where have all the flowers gone? Does anybody what time it is? And so on.) The list is over 60 songs now and still growing.

I find that there is a certain power to these question-songs. In many cases, the song creator seems to be searching for answers, seeking understanding, and wondering about the mysteries of love and life. There is often a sense of urgency to the song, as in, Please, can someone help me to resolve this (e.g., Can anybody find me somebody to love)? The song title that jumps out at me these days is Why can’t we be friends?

Judging by the Google analytics, close to 130,000 folks around the world have enjoyed this playlist over the past four years—in fact it’s long been one of the top three visited pages on the website (the other two are “How Can We Teach Kids to Question?” and “Einstein and Questioning”).

I invite you to check out the playlist, and listen to some songs that are unquestionably good. I also invite you to add to the list by leaving more great “question song” titles in the comments section.

Keep ’em coming!
Queen doing harmonies(Here’s a great video of the real Freddie Mercury and band doing the impressive harmonies for “Somebody to Love”:

Book Excerpt: 
What is a questionologist? (And what can you learn from one?)

Definition of a "questionologist"

“I am a questionologist.”

That’s the opening sentence of The Book of Beautiful Questions. I then go on to explain what I mean by that term and why/how I began using it a few years ago. Admittedly, I made up that title. There is no officially recognized “ology” for the study of questions. But there should be. These days, there are a number of people besides me who are studying the art and science questioning. Their ranks include university professors, scientific researchers, authors, business leaders, philosophers, and others.

And together, we questionologists are discovering that there are many benefits to questioning. Questions can inspire you to be more creative and innovative. They can help you make better decisions. They can serve as an invaluable tool for building and strengthen personal relationships. And they can help you to be a better leader. But of course, you must ask the right questions in order to truly unlock the power of questioning.

The opening section of my book—which is offered to you as a free preview by clicking here—explains some of those benefits and explains why you should care about questioning as much as a questionologist. (Maybe you should even become a questionologist yourself. We’re always looking to add new members to our expanding ranks.)
Thank you, as always, for your interest in beautiful questions, and I hope to continue the conversation with you on Twitter, Facebook, and the website.
Copyright © 2018 A More Beautiful Question, All rights reserved.

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