Transformative Power of Questions: Integrating Don Miguel Ruiz’s Wisdom into Executive Leadership

Feb 7, 2024 | Leadership

Transformative Power of Questions: Integrating Don Miguel Ruiz’s Wisdom into Executive Leadership  

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful executive leadership. It shapes the culture and performance of an organization. In his influential work, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz highlights the dangers of making assumptions. He advocates for clarity and understanding. As leaders, integrating this wisdom into our communication style, especially by prioritizing inquiry over accusations, can have a profound impact.


Cultivating a Trust-Filled and Assumption-Free Workplace:  

Ruiz urges us to avoid making assumptions, one of his four agreements. In a leadership context, this translates to a preference for asking questions. By seeking clarity through inquiry, leaders avoid the pitfalls of misunderstandings that assumptions can cause. This practice builds trust and ensures that the communication is based on facts and real understanding, which is essential for a healthy organizational culture.


Promoting Understanding and Active Engagement:  

Asking questions, in line with Ruiz’s advice, signifies a commitment to understanding the true nature of situations without clouding judgment with assumptions. This approach encourages leaders to listen and engage with their team’s perspectives actively. It demonstrates a willingness to understand the deeper layers of every situation, enhancing the leader’s ability to make informed decisions.


Fostering Innovation and Avoiding Assumptions:  

Ruiz’s caution against making assumptions aligns with fostering creativity through open-ended questions. Leaders who ask questions encourage innovative thinking and problem-solving, as it allows team members to express ideas that may not surface in an environment where assumptions prevail. This open inquiry can lead to breakthrough innovations and creative solutions.


Clarifying Situations and Reducing Workplace Conflicts:  

Adhering to Ruiz’s advice to not make assumptions, leaders who opt for asking questions can effectively prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. This approach ensures that actions and decisions are based on clarity and understanding, not on unfounded assumptions or misinterpretations. It leads to a more harmonious and cohesive working environment.


Encouraging Reflective Thinking and Personal Growth:  

In line with Ruiz’s teachings, asking questions instead of making assumptions can catalyze personal and professional growth. It encourages self-reflection and critical thinking, allowing individuals to evaluate their beliefs and actions in a new light. This can lead to profound personal development and a stronger alignment with their potential and capabilities.


Demonstrating Humility and Creating Approachable Leadership:  

Echoing Ruiz’s principles, a leader who refrains from assumptions and instead asks insightful questions is perceived as more humble and approachable. This openness fosters a culture where staff feel comfortable sharing their ideas and feedback, breaking down hierarchical barriers and promoting a more inclusive and participative workplace.


Integrating the wisdom of Don Miguel Ruiz, particularly the principle of not making assumptions, into executive leadership can profoundly impact organizational communication and culture. This approach aligns with Ruiz’s philosophies and sets a foundation for a more engaged, innovative, and collaborative workforce. Remember, in the leadership journey, the inquiry path often leads to the most enlightening destinations.


20 Questions to Foster Relationship and Understanding

What are the main challenges you currently face in your role?        

How can I better support you in achieving your goals?        

What are the key factors for success in our current project?        

Can you walk me through your process for tackling this task?        

What ideas do you have for improving our team’s efficiency?        

How do you see your role evolving in the context of our company’s goals?        

What feedback do you have about our current strategies or policies?        

In what ways can we enhance our team communication?        

What additional resources or training do you need to be more effective?        

How do you prefer to receive feedback, and how often?        

What are your professional aspirations, and how can we support them?        

What insights have you gained from your recent work experiences?        

Are any obstacles hindering your work, and how can we address them?        

How do you feel about the team’s current morale and work environment?        

What are the strengths of our team, and how can we leverage them more effectively?        

Are there any areas where you feel we are not meeting our clients’ or customers’ expectations?        

What changes can we implement to make our workplace more inclusive and supportive?        

How can we better align our team efforts with the company’s vision?        

What are your thoughts on our current project timelines and deadlines?        

Can you share a recent success story or learning experience from your role?   


These questions encourage thoughtful responses and foster a deeper understanding between executives and their staff, leading to improved collaboration and a more cohesive work environment.

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Patrick Lage

Written By: Terri Wiksten, Chief Operating Officer

Terri Wiksten is a dynamic powerhouse who works harder than anyone you know and tackles every task with 100% effort while maintaining her enthusiastic, cheerleader attitude!

She loves helping professionals save time and money as they search for their next challenge and thrives on how technology turned this industry on its head, allowing for constant change and opportunity to do things better and more effectively for our clients.