Posts Tagged ‘kid’



We hear it all the time (especially from kids) and ask it often (more on that later).

“Why?” is a question used in all sorts of situations, and its prevalence should hint to its usefulness.

And yet, for all of its value, “Why?” can cause a lot of problems, miscommunications, misunderstandings and more because the “Why?” question is so like a double-edged sword.

Therefore, we must examine and learn the uses and misuses of this powerful word/question in order to use it most effectively.

Why So Powerful?
“Why?” is a powerful question because it . . .

. . . stimulates learning. “Why?” is the quintessential open-ended question. The answer to “Why?” provides new information for the asker.

. . . allows discovery. Asking “Why?” helps us find the root cause of a problem by diving into the details. Similarly, this question can lead to discoveries in situations other than problem solving as well.

. . . creates understanding – for both parties. Have you ever explained something to someone else and after you explained it you understood it better? The “Why?” question creates deeper individual understanding and allows for mutual understanding as well.

. . . quenches curiosity. Kids ask “Why?” because they intuitively know that the answers will help them learn, discover and understand. In other words, “Why?” is the perfect question to ask when we are curious, and the perfect question to stimulate our curiosity as well.

Why So Dangerous?
The “Why?” question is powerful . . . and . . . it`s rife with challenge.

Do this quick mental exercise. Think about all the different ways you have heard (or you could ask) “Why?”

With just a bit of imagination you probably will be able to hear your parents or other people with positional power asking the question in a way that wasn`t about curiosity or learning, but in a more “questioning” or accusatory manner.

While the problems certainly don`t always come from a place of positional power, because we have all experienced this, it highlights the challenge this question faces.

“Why?” is dangerous because it can . . .

. . . insinuate power. The power piece can come when words are added to the question, like “Why did you to that?” The problem – and danger – is that as a receiver we can add those additional words in our mind even if they aren`t said; creating meaning that may or may not have been intended by the asker. Either way, once the receiver assumes it, that power is implied. Often – because of this – the receiver may be reticent to answer, may answer in a limited way or in the way we think we “should.”

. . . suggest judgment. Again, this judgment could be coming from someone in power, but not necessarily. The reality is most of us want to be liked and accepted. When we hear judgment in the “Why?” question, we can be stymied by caution or answer in the way in which we assume others want.

. . . impede progress. Any question that leads us to be cautious, incomplete or inauthentic in our answers is a dangerous question because almost by definition it will keep us from moving forward, hide problems or actually move us in the wrong direction. Improper use of the “Why?” question can do all of these things – and more.

Herein lies the danger, for none of these outcomes allows the question to reach its full power and may actually have a damaging effect in a conversation or meeting.

How to Best Use Why
The key to using the “Why?” question first comes in understanding the powers and dangers, then in balancing them correctly. Once we know the risks, we can . . .

. . . preface our questions to minimize the power and judgment concerns of the receiver.

. . . watch the tone of our voice, realizing that tone could – intentionally or not – imply judgment.

. . . monitor our intent, because if we really are passing judgment perhaps we want to modify our approach, or at least not expect the fullness of answers we might get if our intention was different.

. . . ask the “Why?” question differently, to avoid some of the risks (ask, “Can you tell me more?”, or “How do you mean?” as just two examples).

Using any or all of these approaches can help you get the very most from this most powerful question.

Remarkable Leaders know that asking better questions helps them in many of their leadership roles which is why questions are related to several of the competencies of The Remarkable Leadership Learning System – a one skill at a time, one month at a time approach to becoming a more confident and successful leader. You can get two months of that unique system for free as part of our Most Remarkable Free Leadership Gift Ever today at and become the leader you were born to be.

Every good superhero has a superpower

Every good superhero has a superpower. You know, the thing that always helps them get out of a jam and save the day.

Leaders may not be superheroes, but we do sometimes find ourselves in a tough or challenging situation. However, unlike like our superhero friends, we don`t always remember to use our superpowers.

This article is about one of those powers – one that is too often overlooked or underappreciated.

This is a power that has many uses, but for now let`s think about how it can be used when you need to persuade.

Clearly, as a leader, you have a need to persuade others – in a change situation, in a coaching situation, and the list could go on and on. And since persuasion is such a pervasive skill, wouldn`t you like to have a superpower you could pull out when you really need it?

More about that in a moment.

First, think about the best, most successful persuaders you know. Get one name in your mind, then answer this question:

What makes that person so exceptional?

Having done this exercise with a number of groups, I know your list probably includes a many ideas. Some of the ideas are tactics or specific types of behaviors that persuaders use to be successful.

All of those ideas are useful and instructive, yet none of them are the persuasive superpower.

However, the superpower may be on your list, hidden, by thoughts like:

She gets others excited.
He is enthusiastic.

Or maybe the superpower is actually sitting right in your mind, and you don`t even recognize it.

The persuasive superpower is passion.

First, a definition of persuasion: Persuasion is the ability to induce or create a course of action or viewpoint using the tools of influence through conversation, dialogue, logic, reasoning and emotion.

Note the last word in that definition . . . emotion.

Emotion is the word that links to passion. And since everyone one of us makes decisions and choices based on our emotions, passion is key to successful persuasion.

Why a Superpower?

Six reasons why passion is the persuasive superpower:

Passion shows conviction. People are more likely to believe your words when they sense your passion.
Passion is contagious. Passion IS contagious, and if you are trying to persuade someone of something, wouldn`t you want your ideas to be the contagion they catch?
Passion provides value. People want more passion, energy and excitement in their lives. Like a little (or big) kid who is drawn to the cookie jar, our passion draws people because it is something they want more of in their lives.
Passion is best based on purpose. Generally we are passionate about something because of what that something represents. When you connect your passion and your persuasion to a higher purpose, you further energize your superpower!
Passion enhances effectiveness. Your communication will be better when you are passionate. Your productivity will be enhanced, as will the productivity of others as they tap into your passion.
Passion is truly “other focused.” When you are truly passionate about something it`s because you want others to benefit too. Laser-focus your passion based on the needs of others and your persuasive powers will be further enhanced – while you aren`t thinking about them at all.

Two Final Thoughts

Some leaders are afraid to show their emotions and passion because “they aren`t that person.” Or they don`t see themselves as a rah-rah cheerleader type.

Let me be very clear – the passion superpower doesn`t require you to be a cheerleader unless that is who you are. All of us can effectively show and communicate our passion in our own way. Don`t let a stereotype get in your way!

At this point you may be thinking “you know, Kevin, I`m just not very passionate about my current situation or position.”

While exploring that would be worthy of another article, here is a short answer:

Find the part of the situation you can be passionate about and focus your energy there. Since passion is contagious, two things will happen – you will be using your superpower AND building your own passion over time.

Throughout history, there have been larger than life figures such as george washington, who led his young fractured nation’s army into a battle for independence

Throughout history, there have been larger than life figures such as George Washington, who led his young fractured nation’s army into a battle for independence. Corporate titans such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Steve Jobs have led the employees and shareholders of their organizations to financial success, while others like you and I have used our influence to lead family and friends to make improvements in their lives. I would like to point out that the key ingredient in all of these leadership interactions is that of the leader-follower relationship.Without this ingredient there would be no independence, no organizational successes, and no improvements in the lives of our friends and family (per these cases). But, what compels us to follow a given individual? What is it about certain individuals that makes us willing to follow them?

One of my dissertation committee members wrote a paper exploring the relationship between trust and leadership and the role that it plays in the leader-follower relationship. His research revealed that there is a correlation between the level of trust followers have in an individual’s ability to effectively serve their agenda and their willingness to follow his/her vision. Trust is a concept that has significant meaning for most of us, as many of us have deep seeded issues with the concept stemming from childhood and young adulthood.

A family member letting us down, time and time again, kids teasing us in our youth, or that first love that broke our heart can begin our subconscious process of erecting invisible walls around us for protection. These walls make it very difficult for many of us to trust others as we try to function in adulthood. This is why many of us tend to be sceptical or wary of the intentions of others. Nevertheless, history has taught us that trust is an essential ingredient when it comes to leadership. Therefore, work needs to be done by both follower and leader. The follower must work to overcome his/her barriers to trust, while the leader must consistently demonstrate the traits associated with trust to his/her followers. But, what is trust as it relates to leadership?

Trust in the context of leadership means that the follower believes that the leader has a shared commitment and the ability to effectively lead him/her towards a vision that he/she may not be able to pursue without the leader’s assistance and guidance. Trust is at the core of the leader-follower relationship. Without trust, little progress pertaining to a given vision can take place. Therefore, an individual who wants to lead must establish and maintain trust with his/her followers.

Here are some of the traits that an individual must have or develop if he/she is looking to establish and maintain trust in those that he/she may lead:

A shared commitment to a given movement or cause with followers.
A vision for the movement or cause.
A commitment to his/her followers’ success.
A satisfactory level of competence to plan and accomplish the tasks needed to achieve the movement as assessed and determined by the followers.
The use of fairness when dealing with followers.
The willingness and ability to meet the needs of followers, even if it may mean that at times he/she may sacrifice his/her own desires.
The willingness and ability to listen to the views and ideas of followers.

These traits are essential to establishing and maintaining the leader-follower relationship. Do you possess these traits? If not, and your goal is to be a leader then you have work to do.

A common theme floats through the bleachers of any youth sports event

A common theme floats through the bleachers of any youth sports event. This theme embodies the essential elements of teamwork that are crucial to every business in America. Every manager has the task of assembling teams of people and leading them in a successful direction. Obviously, this sounds much easier than it is, but why?

Ask the parents of young athletes what they think of the coaching and leadership of their sons or daughters team. Most will offer a positive remark about the team and the coach. The unspoken is often at the heart of the matter and deals with the only participant they truly care about; their child. Parents reserve the right to hold lofty opinions of their offspring’s athletic prowess and ability to impact the team. They sense that coaches try hard, but rarely see the true athletic genius of their child. Those of you who’ve spent countless hours on cold, aluminum bleachers can relate to this message.

The problem lies mostly in the message that kids receive at home. They listen and give their team and coach their best effort in practice only to hear a parent tell them how underappreciated and misused they really are on the field of play. Many of these athletes then return to practice wondering themselves why they are not the center of attention or the leading scorer. The results can be devastating for the young person. Unsure of their real value and role on the team they can lose interest, pull others down, or quit. Because the window of athletic participation is short lived for all kids, we often miss the mark as parents and coaches. Youth coaches have a unique opportunity to develop not only the team but each young person’s life. The beauty of sports in our world today is that the playing field can be a powerful teacher of life’s lessons to come.

In business, just as in youth sports, the football model holds true. Imagine yourself as a football coach for a second. The goal is to establish a vision, set goals, provide roles for participants, and design a path to success. Not until you get each of the players to buy into the game plan will you move ahead in the right direction. So where does the football analogy come in?

As the coach you must decide who will fill all of the positions on the field. Much like fielding a business team or office staff, the head coach must find and develop the best center, quarterback, receiver, and place kicker. What qualifications are needed in each position? How do you entice players to accept less glamorous roles on the team? Do you have quality people in your organization that can properly fill and execute these positions or do you need to recruit them? What strategy do you use when a player will not accept the role you present? Would you know how to put the best possible team on the field if you were the coach? The role of a business leader is much the same.

To crystallize this process, a great coach or leader will instill the value and greatness of each person on the team within their specific role. Truthfully, almost every kid grows up wanting to be the quarterback or receiver. What would a team look like with 11 quarterbacks and no one to snap the ball or block for them? As players fit and fill roles on the team they buy into the importance of what each bring to the table. They gain strength and confidence by doing their job well. Without their role being filled in an important way, the team does not execute to its capabilities. When more than one player fails to accept or execute their role, the team begins to deteriorate from the inside. On the outside, losses fill the schedule instead of wins. My advice for every business leader is to take a look into the genius of the great coaches in sports. You can find them at the elementary, high school, college, and pro levels. How and why do they make these tough personnel decisions on a daily basis, year after year. You’ll find that each are masters at defining roles and establishing the importance of each role. As each part of the team is assembled and developed through practice and hard work, the inner workings of a successful team are in place. Take a page from the football playbook and create your own winning team.

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