You have been asked by your manager to present at this years annual Dynamic Leadership conference. The subject of your presentation is on followership and how it contributes to effec


Note: This presentation is divided into three sections. This week, you will complete and submit the final presentation and script. You submitted Section 1 in Week 4 and Section 2 in Week 5.

During the past 2 weeks, you have been developing a presentation based on the following scenario:

You have been asked by your manager to present at this year’s annual Dynamic Leadership conference. The subject of your presentation is on followership and how it contributes to effective leadership in a business context.
The basic outline for this presentation will include three sections:
Section 1: Followership Defined
Section 2: The Leader-Follower Interaction
Section 3: Traits of Leadership and Followership

For this week’s Assignment, you will conclude your presentation by completing Section 3 of the presentation and by finalizing both the PowerPoint slide deck and your accompanying script. The submitted Assignment must include the finalized slide content for all three sections as well as finalized text in the speaker notes section of each slide that would serve as the script you would use to deliver this presentation to a group of people. As you finalize your presentation and script, be sure to cover all items outlined for Section 3, including the incorporation of references to appropriate academic sources, such as those found in the Learning Resources or those in the Walden Library.


Submit your final presentation and script for Sections 1–3. Be sure that you have included the requirements for Section 3 in 4–5 slides, excluding references:  

Section 3: Traits of Leadership and Followership

  • Examine how personal traits influence how one leads and how one follows. Draw on professional and personal experience to provide examples.
  • Analyze how a follower can contribute to effective leadership in an organization. Provide at least one example to support your analysis.
  • Analyze how a leader can encourage effective followership in an organization. Provide at least one example to support your analysis.
  • Identify at least one personal trait you would like to improve upon to become a more effective leader and at least one trait you would like to improve upon to become a more effective follower. Explain why these improvements would be a benefit to you and to an organization.

As a reminder, your finalized presentation should be approximately 10–15 slides in length, with accompanying script text for each slide. Make sure that your script and PowerPoint slides follow each other and flow as a single presentation.

Refer to the Week 6 Assignment Rubric for specific grading elements and criteria. Your Instructor will use this grading rubric to assess your work. 

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Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

Lead with Humility Hayes, Merwyn;Comer, Michael Leadership Excellence; Sep 2011; 28, 9; ProQuest One Academic pg. 13



ARTICLE MANAGING YOURSELF The Surprising Power of Questions It goes far beyond exchanging information. by Alison Wood Brooks and Leslie K. John

This document is authorized for use only by Yaina Delgado in Dynamic Leadership-Summer 2023 at Walden University (Canvas), 2023.




2 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW MAY–JUNE 2018 This document is authorized for use only by Yaina Delgado in Dynamic Leadership-Summer 2023 at Walden University (Canvas), 2023.

MAY–JUNE 2018 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 3 This document is authorized for use only by Yaina Delgado in Dynamic Leadership-Summer 2023 at Walden University (Canvas), 2023.

For some people, questioning comes easily. Their natural inquisitiveness, emotional intelligence, and ability to read people put the ideal question on the tip of their tongue. But most of us don’t ask enough ques- tions, nor do we pose our inquiries in an optimal way.

The good news is that by asking questions, we nat- urally improve our emotional intelligence, which in turn makes us better questioners—a virtuous cycle. In this article, we draw on insights from behavioral science research to explore how the way we frame questions and choose to answer our counterparts can influence the outcome of conversations. We offer guidance for choosing the best type, tone, sequence, and framing of questions and for deciding what and how much information to share to reap the most ben- efit from our interactions, not just for ourselves but for our organizations.

DON’T ASK, DON’T GET “Be a good listener,” Dale Carnegie advised in his 1936 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. “Ask questions the other person will enjoy answering.”

More than 80 years later, most people still fail to heed Carnegie’s sage advice. When one of us (Alison) began studying conversations at Harvard Business School several years ago, she quickly arrived at a foundational insight: People don’t ask enough ques- tions. In fact, among the most common complaints people make after having a conversation, such as an interview, a first date, or a work meeting, is “I wish [s/he] had asked me more questions” and “I can’t believe [s/he] didn’t ask me any questions.”

Why do so many of us hold back? There are many reasons. People may be egocentric—eager to impress others with their own thoughts, stories, and ideas (and not even think to ask questions). Perhaps they are apathetic—they don’t care enough to ask, or they anticipate being bored by the answers they’d hear. They may be overconfident in their own knowledge and think they already know the answers (which sometimes they do, but usually not). Or perhaps they worry that they’ll ask the wrong question and be viewed as rude or incompetent. But the biggest in- hibitor, in our opinion, is that most people just don’t understand how beneficial good questioning can be.


THE PROBLEM Some professionals such as litigators, journalists and even doctors, are taught to ask questions as part of their training. But few executives think about questioning as a skill that can be honed. That’s a missed opportunity.

THE OPPORTUNITY Questioning is a powerful tool for unlocking value in companies: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and better performance, it builds trust among team members. And it can mitigate business risk by uncovering unforeseen pitfalls and hazards.

THE APPROACH Several techniques can enhance the power and efficacy of queries: Favor follow-up questions, know when to keep questions open-ended, get the sequence right, use the right tone, and pay attention to group dynamics.

Much of an executive’s workday is spent asking others for information—requesting status updates from a team leader, for example, or questioning a counterpart in a tense negotiation. Yet unlike professionals such as litigators, journalists, and doc- tors, who are taught how to ask questions as an essential part of their training, few executives think of questioning as a skill that can be honed—or consider how their own answers to questions could make conversations more productive.

That’s a missed opportunity. Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking value in organizations: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation and performance improvement, it builds rapport and trust among team members. And it can mitigate business risk by uncovering unforeseen pitfalls and hazards.




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If they did, they would end far fewer sentences with a period—and more with a question mark.

Dating back to the 1970s, research suggests that people have conversations to accomplish some com- bination of two major goals: information exchange (learning) and impression management (liking). Recent research shows that asking questions achieves both. Alison and Harvard colleagues Karen Huang, Michael Yeomans, Julia Minson, and Francesca Gino scrutinized thousands of natural conversations among participants who were getting to know each other, either in online chats or on in-person speed dates. The researchers told some people to ask many questions (at least nine in 15 minutes) and others to ask very few (no more than four in 15 minutes). In the online chats, the people who were randomly as- signed to ask many questions were better liked by their conversation partners and learned more about their partners’ interests. For example, when quizzed about their partners’ preferences for activities such as reading, cooking, and exercising, high question askers were more likely to be able to guess correctly. Among the speed daters, people were more willing to go on a second date with partners who asked more questions. In fact, asking just one more question on each date meant that participants persuaded one ad- ditional person (over the course of 20 dates) to go out with them again.

Questions are such powerful tools that they can be beneficial—perhaps particularly so—in circum- stances when question asking goes against social norms. For instance, prevailing norms tell us that job candidates are expected to answer questions during interviews. But research by Dan Cable, at the London Business School, and Virginia Kay, at the University of North Carolina, suggests that most people excessively self-promote during job interviews. And when inter- viewees focus on selling themselves, they are likely to forget to ask questions—about the interviewer, the organization, the work—that would make the inter- viewer feel more engaged and more apt to view the candidate favorably and could help the candidate predict whether the job would provide satisfying work. For job candidates, asking questions such as “What am I not asking you that I should?” can signal competence, build rapport, and unlock key pieces of information about the position.

Most people don’t grasp that asking a lot of ques- tions unlocks learning and improves interpersonal bonding. In Alison’s studies, for example, though people could accurately recall how many questions had been asked in their conversations, they didn’t in- tuit the link between questions and liking. Across four studies, in which participants were engaged in con- versations themselves or read transcripts of others’ conversations, people tended not to realize that ques- tion asking would influence—or had influenced—the level of amity between the conversationalists.

THE NEW SOCRATIC METHOD The first step in becoming a better questioner is simply to ask more questions. Of course, the sheer number of questions is not the only factor that influ- ences the quality of a conversation: The type, tone, sequence, and framing also matter.

In our teaching at Harvard Business School, we run an exercise in which we instruct pairs of students to have a conversation. Some students are told to ask as few questions as possible, and some are instructed to ask as many as possible. Among the low-low pairs (both students ask a minimum of questions), partici- pants generally report that the experience is a bit like children engaging in parallel play: They exchange statements but struggle to initiate an interactive, en- joyable, or productive dialogue. The high-high pairs find that too many questions can also create a stilted dynamic. However, the high-low pairs’ experiences are mixed. Sometimes the question asker learns a lot about her partner, the answerer feels heard, and both

Most people don’t grasp that asking a lot of questions unlocks learning and improves interpersonal bonding.


This document is authorized for use only by Yaina Delgado in Dynamic Leadership-Summer 2023 at Walden University (Canvas), 2023.

come away feeling profoundly closer. Other times, one of the participants may feel uncomfortable in his role or unsure about how much to share, and the conversation can feel like an interrogation.

Our research suggests several approaches that can enhance the power and efficacy of queries. The best approach for a given situation depends on the goals of the conversationalists—specifically, whether the discussion is cooperative (for example, the duo is trying to build a relationship or accomplish a task together) or competitive (the parties seek to uncover sensitive information from each other or serve their own interests), or some combination of both. (See the sidebar “Conversational Goals Matter.”) Consider the following tactics.

Favor follow-up questions. Not all questions are created equal. Alison’s research, using human coding and machine learning, revealed four types of ques- tions: introductory questions (“How are you?”), mir- ror questions (“I’m fine. How are you?”), full-switch questions (ones that change the topic entirely), and follow-up questions (ones that solicit more infor- mation). Although each type is abundant in natural conversation, follow-up questions seem to have spe- cial power. They signal to your conversation partner that you are listening, care, and want to know more. People interacting with a partner who asks lots of follow-up questions tend to feel respected and heard.

An unexpected benefit of follow-up questions is that they don’t require much thought or preparation— indeed, they seem to come naturally to interlocutors. In Alison’s studies, the people who were told to ask more questions used more follow-up questions than any other type without being instructed to do so.

Know when to keep questions open-ended. No one likes to feel interrogated—and some types of questions can force answerers into a yes-or-no corner. Open-ended questions can counteract that effect and

thus can be particularly useful in uncovering infor- mation or learning something new. Indeed, they are wellsprings of innovation—which is often the result of finding the hidden, unexpected answer that no one has thought of before.

A wealth of research in survey design has shown the dangers of narrowing respondents’ options. For example, “closed” questions can introduce bias and manipulation. In one study, in which parents were asked what they deemed “the most important thing for children to prepare them in life,” about 60% of them chose “to think for themselves” from a list of response options. However, when the same question was asked in an open-ended format, only about 5% of parents spontaneously came up with an answer along those lines.

Of course, open-ended questions aren’t always optimal. For example, if you are in a tense negotia- tion or are dealing with people who tend to keep their cards close to their chest, open-ended questions can leave too much wiggle room, inviting them to dodge or lie by omission. In such situations, closed questions work better, especially if they are framed correctly. For example, research by Julia Minson, the University of Utah’s Eric VanEpps, Georgetown’s Jeremy Yip, and Wharton’s Maurice Schweitzer indi- cates that people are less likely to lie if questioners make pessimistic assumptions (“This business will need some new equipment soon, correct?”) rather than optimistic ones (“The equipment is in good working order, right?”).

Sometimes the information you wish to ascer- tain is so sensitive that direct questions won’t work, no matter how thoughtfully they are framed. In these situations, a survey tactic can aid discov- ery. In research Leslie conducted with Alessandro Acquisti and George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University, she found that people were more forth- coming when requests for sensitive information were couched within another task—in the study’s case, rating the ethicality of antisocial behaviors such as cheating on one’s tax return or letting a drunk friend drive home. Participants were asked to rate the ethi- cality using one scale if they had engaged in a partic- ular behavior and another scale if they hadn’t—thus revealing which antisocial acts they themselves had engaged in. Although this tactic may sometimes prove useful at an organizational level—we can imag- ine that managers might administer a survey rather than ask workers directly about sensitive information such as salary expectations—we counsel restraint in using it. If people feel that you are trying to trick them into revealing something, they may lose trust in you, decreasing the likelihood that they’ll share informa- tion in the future and potentially eroding workplace relationships.

Get the sequence right. The optimal order of your questions depends on the circumstances. During

During tense encounters, asking tough questions first can make people more willing to open up.



This document is authorized for use only by Yaina Delgado in Dynamic Leadership-Summer 2023 at Walden University (Canvas), 2023.

tense encounters, asking tough questions first, even if it feels socially awkward to do so, can make your con- versational partner more willing to open up. Leslie and her coauthors found that people are more willing to reveal sensitive information when questions are asked in a decreasing order of intrusiveness. When a question asker begins with a highly sensitive ques- tion—such as “Have you ever had a fantasy of doing something terrible to someone?”—subsequent ques- tions, such as “Have you ever called in sick to work when you were perfectly healthy?” feel, by compari- son, less intrusive, and thus we tend to be more forth- coming. Of course, if the first question is too sensitive, you run the risk of offending your counterpart. So it’s a delicate balance, to be sure.

If the goal is to build relationships, the opposite approach—opening with less sensitive questions and escalating slowly—seems to be most effective. In a classic set of studies (the results of which went viral following a write-up in the “Modern Love” col- umn of the New York Times), psychologist Arthur Aron recruited strangers to come to the lab, paired them up, and gave them a list of questions. They were told to work their way through the list, start- ing with relatively shallow inquiries and progress- ing to more self-revelatory ones, such as “What is your biggest regret?” Pairs in the control group were asked simply to interact with each other. The pairs who followed the prescribed structure liked each other more than the control pairs. This effect is so strong that it has been formalized in a task called “the relationship closeness induction,” a tool used by researchers to build a sense of connection among experiment participants.

Good interlocutors also understand that ques- tions asked previously in a conversation can influ- ence future queries. For example, Norbert Schwarz, of the University of Southern California, and his co- authors found that when the question “How satis- fied are you with your life?” is followed by the ques- tion “How satisfied are you with your marriage?” the answers were highly correlated: Respondents who reported being satisfied with their life also said they were satisfied with their marriage. When asked the questions in this order, people implicitly inter- preted that life satisfaction “ought to be” closely tied to marriage. However, when the same questions were asked in the opposite order, the answers were less closely correlated.

Use the right tone. People are more forthcoming when you ask questions in a casual way, rather than in a buttoned-up, official tone. In one of Leslie’s studies, participants were posed a series of sensitive questions in an online survey. For one group of participants, the website’s user interface looked fun and frivo- lous; for another group, the site looked official. (The control group was presented with a neutral-looking site.) Participants were about twice as likely to reveal

sensitive information on the casual-looking site than on the others.

People also tend to be more forthcoming when given an escape hatch or “out” in a conversation. For example, if they are told that they can change their answers at any point, they tend to open up more— even though they rarely end up making changes. This might explain why teams and groups find brainstorm- ing sessions so productive. In a whiteboard setting, where anything can be erased and judgment is sus- pended, people are more likely to answer questions honestly and say things they otherwise might not. Of course, there will be times when an off-the-cuff approach is inappropriate. But in general, an overly formal tone is likely to inhibit people’s willingness to share information.

THE POWER OF QUESTIONS IN SALES There are few business settings in which asking questions is more important than sales. A recent study of more than 500,000 business-to-business sales conversations—over the phone and via online platforms—by tech company reveals that top-performing salespeople ask questions differently than their peers.

Consistent with past research, the data shows a strong connection between the number of questions a salesperson asks and his or her sales conversion rate (in terms of both securing the next meeting and eventually closing the deal). This is true even after controlling for the gender of the salesperson and the call type (demo, proposal, negotiation, and so on). However, there is a point of diminishing returns. Conversion rates start to drop off after about 14 questions, with 11 to 14 being the optimal range.

The data also shows that top-performing salespeople tend to scatter questions throughout the sales call, which makes it feel more like a conversation than an interrogation. Lower performers, in contrast, frontload questions in the first half of the sales call, as if they’re making their way through a to-do list.

Just as important, top salespeople listen more and speak less than their counterparts overall. Taken together, the data from affirms what great salespeople intuitively understand: When sellers ask questions rather than just make their pitch, they close more deals.


MAY–JUNE 2018 HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW 7 This document is authorized for use only by Yaina Delgado in Dynamic Leadership-Summer 2023 at Walden University (Canvas), 2023.

Pay attention to group dynamics. Conversa- tional dynamics can change profoundly depending on whether you’re chatting one-on-one with some- one or talking in a group. Not only is the willingness to answer questions affected simply by the presence of others, but members of a group tend to follow one another’s lead. In one set of studies, Leslie and her coauthors asked participants a series of sensitive questions, including ones about finances (“Have you ever bounced a check?”) and sex (“While an adult, have you ever felt sexual desire for a minor?”). Participants were told either that most others in the study were willing to reveal stigmatizing answers or that they were unwilling to do so. Participants who were told that others had been forthcoming were 27%

likelier to reveal sensitive answers than those who were told that others had been reticent. In a meeting or group setting, it takes only a few closed-off people for questions to lose their probing power. The oppo- site is true, too. As soon as one person starts to open up, the rest of the group is likely to follow suit.

Group dynamics can also affect how a question asker is perceived. Alison’s research reveals that participants in a conversation enjoy being asked questions and tend to like the people asking ques- tions more than those who answer them. But when third-party observers watch the same conversation unfold, they prefer the person who answers ques- tions. This makes sense: People who mostly ask ques- tions tend to disclose very little about themselves or

CONVERSATIONAL GOALS MATTER Conversations fall along a continuum from purely competitive to purely cooperative. For example, discussions about the allocation of scarce resources tend to be competitive; those between friends and colleagues are generally cooperative; and others, such managers’ check-ins with employees, are mixed—supportive but also providing feedback and communicating expectations. Here are some challenges that commonly arise when asking and answering questions and tactics for handling them.

CHALLENGE Your conversational partner is reluctant to share information

and may even lie.

TACTICS Ask direct or “yes or no” questions

to avoid evasive answers.

Ask detailed follow-up questions (even if they’re redundant)

to pry out more information.

Frame tough questions using pessimistic assumptions

(“We’ve experienced some headwinds in sales, right?”) to reduce the likelihood that

respondents will lie.

Ask the most sensitive question first. Subsequent questions will feel less intrusive, making your

partner more forthcoming.

CHALLENGE Answering questions

could put you at a strategic disadvantage.

TACTICS Prepare: Think in advance about the information you

want to keep private to avoid answering impulsively.

Dodge the issue by answering a similar question you’d

prefer to have been asked.

Deflect and gain control of the conversation by posing

a question in return.

Consider when to share negative information—rather than refusing

to answer—to build trust.

CHALLENGE Friendly colleagues may shy away from conflict or hesitate to share bad news.

TACTICS Ask open-ended questions (“If you were to play devil’s

advocate, what would you say?”) to draw out negative feedback.

Begin with the least-sensitive questions to build rapport, and

escalate slowly.

As in competitive contexts, frame tough questions

using negative assumptions.

CHALLENGE We forget to focus on making conversations

productive and delightful, or we speak too freely.

TACTICS Avoid droning on and on. Use energy, humor, and storytelling to engage

your partners.

Avoid talking too much about yourself, and remember

to ask questions of others.

Deflect tough questions by answering with another

question or a joke.









This document is authorized for use only by Yaina Delgado in Dynamic Leadership-Summer 2023 at Walden University (Canvas), 2023.

their thoughts. To those listening to a conversation, question askers may come across as defensive, eva- sive, or invisible, while those answering seem more fascinating, present, or memorable.

THE BEST RESPONSE A conversation is a dance that requires partners to be in sync—it’s a mutual push-and-pull that unfolds over time. Just as the way we ask questions can facilitate trust and the sharing of information—so, too, can the way we answer them.

Answering questions requires making a choice about where to fall on a continuum between privacy and transparency. Should we answer the question? If we answer, how forthcoming should we be? What should we do when asked a question that, if answered truthfully, might reveal a less-than-glamorous fact or put us in a disadvantaged strategic position? Each end of the spectrum—fully opaque and fully trans- parent—has benefits and pitfalls. Keeping infor- mation private can make us feel free to experiment and learn. In negotiations, withholding sensitive information (such as the fact that your alternatives are weak) can help you secure better outcomes. At the same time, transparency is an essential part of forging meaningful connections. Even in a negotia- tion context, transparency can lead to value-creating deals; by sharing information, participants can iden- tify elements that are relatively unimportant to one party but important to the other—the foundation of a win-win outcome.

And keeping secrets has costs. Research by Julie Lane and Daniel Wegner, of the University of Virginia, suggests that concealing secrets during social inter- actions leads to the intrusive recurrence of secret thoughts, while research by Columbia’s Michael Slepian, Jinseok Chun, and Malia Mason shows that keeping secrets—even outside of social interactions— depletes us cognitively, interferes with our ability to concentrate and remember things, and even harms long-term health and well-being.

In an organizational context, people too often err on the side of privacy—and underappreciate the ben- efits of transparency. How often do we realize that we could have truly bonded with a colleague only af- ter he or she has moved on to a new company? Why are better deals often uncovered after the ink has dried, the tension has broken, and negotiators begin to chat freely?

To maximize the benefits of answering ques- tions—and minimize the risks—it’s important to de- cide before a conversation begins what information you want to share and what you want to keep private.

Deciding what to share. There is no rule of thumb for how much—or what type—of information you should disclose. Indeed, transparency is such a powerful bonding agent that sometimes it doesn’t

matter what is revealed—even information that reflects poorly on us can draw our conversational partners closer. In research Leslie conducted with HBS collaborators Kate Barasz and Michael Norton, she found that most people assume that it would be less damaging to refuse to answer a question that would reveal negative information—for example, “Have you ever been reprimanded at work?”—than to answer affirmatively.





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