crowdsourcing, leadership skills, entrepreneurs, problem solving, networkingWatching our political leaders compete for our votes in the November elections has reminded me of the qualities of a good leader.  As leaders, do we tend to skirt around difficult issues and only discuss what we think our crowds wish to hear?  Or, do we ask the tough questions and address the more controversial issues?

By clinging to our comfort zones and not asking hard questions, we won’t risk ruffling any feathers and losing our audience.  But at the same time, such leadership misses a large opportunity to create real social change in their communities.

Where the Free Market Fails:  Online Dating had some interesting ideas about how softball questions were ineffective in online dating, but I think it applies to leadership qualities as well.

  • As a leader, you must break the ice. Leaders who step out of their comfort zone inspire their crowds to do the same.  Your crowd might surprise you; opening up new possibilities, discovering new ideas, and showing you new ways of looking at issues that you had not previously considered.  You might have some new experts step forward, making your crowdsourcing efforts yield better results.
  • You want to cultivate an atmosphere where anyone can ask questions and all ideas are heard and considered without fear of negative retribution.  Remember, asking a controversial question is not the same as taking an unpopular action.  Ultimately, this give and take should result in better solutions.  The best solutions are the fruit of positive inquiry.
  • You can enhance the relationship between you and your crowd and find better ways to connect with them.  By falling back on addressing your crowd with questions that are safe for everyone, you may only generate a discussion useful to no one.  Questions will result in immediate feedback.  The more in sync a leader is with their audience, the more effective your crowdsourcing efforts.
  • This is how your true leadership qualities shine through. A leader that is not afraid to dig deep and stir the pot shows their crowd that they truly care about making a positive change in their community.  Courage proves you are sincere in your efforts to make a positive impact.
  • Do not forget to remain humble. Just because you ask the right questions does not mean you have all the answers.  A leader is only as smart as the people they surround themselves with.

We have seen how social influence can bring about drastic change in the world.  Now, you can check asking hard questions off your leadership skills list.  What are some hard questions you have had to ask in your life and how did asking improve your relationship with your crowd?

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