What keeps you up at night? A unique way to use this question

by Feb 17, 2011Insights, Interesting People, Leadership

insomnia

We have all heard this question.  It is one of those What to ask a leader 101 questions.  Yesterday I heard this question used in a way that surprised me.

I saw retired Brigadier General David Hall speak.  He had many insights to share, but how he used this question was unique.  In his years of leading he developed the habit gathering his staff together at the end of each month to have a drink and some social time.  One of the things he would do during their time together was share the things that, as their leader, were keeping him up at night.  He would end with the request for help from anyone who had an idea or perspective that would make that worry go away. 

  • Shouldn’t people ask the leader this question?  Yes, but the military is not much different from business.  Sometimes people are scared or nervous to ask a leader a tough question.
  • Is it right for a leader to dump like that?  It is sharing what you are thinking and asking for help.  Dumping is this happening daily or weekly.

Not surprisingly, many of his problems went away over time. 

Why wait for a question like this to be asked first?

Recent & Related

2022 “Serve First” Donation Wrap-up

2022 “Serve First” Donation Wrap-up

When I did my own VTO 6 years ago I defined 4 core values: Serve First, Kindness Matters, Get it done, and Learning+Doing=Growth. This program emerged when I created a 10-year target to give away 20% of my revenue as a way of living my Serve First value. Through Serve...

read more

Why Every Member of Your Team Should Lead

If I asked you to draw me a picture of a leader, you might pull together a confident and commanding CEO running a meeting, a press conference, or a standup with a group of people. Leaders tend to stand out for how they carry themselves, what they wear, and certainly...

read more

A Different Approach to Onboarding From Day One

I had the delightful opportunity to chat with Kelly Plawinski, the COO and EOS Integrator at Adamy Valuation. Adamy is a financial services firm based out of Grand Rapids MI that serves business owners, legal experts,...

read more