Answering questions can be challenging. Some questions make us very uncomfortable.
How will we answer for our leadership? To whom will we answer?
The truth remains! We are going to lead, the question is where will we lead?
Are we leading others to a better life in this present world, or in relationship to God?
Will others view our leadership as serving others or self-serving?
Why are we leading?
Leadership is not intended to be disheartening or discouraging. We are challenged to lead in the greatest arena, with the greatest motive, for the greatest cause.
Where will we lead?
Using our head to lead ourselves means we:
…think before we speak or act.
…consider the short- and long-term consequences of our words and actions.
…weigh the evidence and ask evaluating questions before making decisions.
Using our heart to lead others means we:
…devote ourselves to learning and serving the needs of others.
…prioritize our time toward maturity in relationship development.
…risk temporary satisfaction for eternal gain.
It is often said, “To lead yourself, use your head. To lead others, use your heart.”
Let us be mindful to lead others with our hearts. Think Souls!
A good friend of mine says leaders must constantly “assess, adjust, improve, make mistakes and own them.”
We could describe this as the cycle of leadership. The principle shows that leaders know who they are and always seek improvement.
One of the ways to accomplish this is by asking difficult questions.
Do we really want to be a leader?
What is the motivation behind our desire to lead?
Are we willing to make the necessary sacrifices to lead effectively?
Will we commit ourselves to the task of continually developing our abilities to lead?
These provide a foundation to help us know who we are and improve our approach to leadership.
Planning is vital to achieving goals. The challenge before leaders is developing the right plan.
We must answer several questions.
What goal are we trying to reach?
Why is this goal important to the overall program, or is it?
Who will carry out the plan?
Are adequate resources available for each stage of the plan? If not, can they be obtained?
When will we evaluate the progress?
How can we achieve maximum involvement?
Once the goal is reached, where do we go from that point?
Answering these questions provides the right foundation for the proper plans.
Criticism abounds, and we’ve considered how leaders must give criticism, but another challenge addresses how we receive it.
We cannot exhaust the list, but as leaders, a few suggestions for receiving criticism include:
Keep a record and review the criticism.
Always receive criticism gracefully. Be genuine.
Learn to ask questions for clarification.
Do not quit! Instead, accept criticism as a challenge to improve.
When leaders learn how to give and receive criticism, the results bring growth for all.
How often do we need an answer, yet do not know how to get it?
John Maxwell says, “You can’t find the right answer if you are asking the wrong question.”
What will help?
1) Think before speaking.
2) Questions must be clear and direct.
3) Be genuine.
4) Do not assume anything.
5) Learn what “not” to ask.
There are answers, but we must learn to ask the right questions to get the answers.
To this point, we have considered three questions that all great leaders ask. There is a fourth question these leaders ask that is also significant to consider: “What might be missing?”
Mike Maddock, who writes for Forbes online, claims “great leaders are open to the fact (and it is a fact) that they are missing something.”
We do not have the space to list all the possible answers to this question. It should be noted that what is missing can range from the most simple of ideas to the most complex of leadership teams.
The value of asking this question, and for leaders to impress upon others the need to answer this question, demonstrates the kind of humility great leaders need in their leadership.
When humility is part of the leadership equation, along with an openness to the possibilities, then followers will provide answers.
A sense of creativity, innovation, and motivation will exist to provide a stronger morale in achieving short and long term goals.
We cannot underestimate the power of humility seen in God’s leaders.
Yesterday, we looked at the first of four questions great leaders ask. The article, written by Mike Maddock for Forbes, has powerful insight into questions leaders should ask. The first question involved answering the difference between what is essential and urgent.
The second question is one that also demands thought: What should we stop doing?
This question follows on the heels of the first question. Once a leader understands what is essential, there are certain elements to be eliminated.
These elements distract leaders and become time stealers, robbing leaders of the time to focus on matters of an essential nature.
Through the process of eliminating areas of lesser importance (what we should stop doing), leaders can focus their time and energy on the essential side of the “to-do” list.
The implication for spiritual leadership is significant. Spiritual leaders realize the need to prioritize life and work by recognizing the proper balance between what is urgent versus essential.
As we make our way through each question, please take time to consider the answers in application to the leadership needed in the church today.
Voltaire is noted as having said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
The Forbes website provides information about several areas concerning leadership.
One specific article focuses on “Four Questions Great Leaders Ask.” Over the next few days we want to look at each of these questions and how they apply to spiritual leaders.
The first question: “Is this urgent or essential?”
Every leader wrestles with determining the difference between urgent and essential matters. Often times the urgent matters distract leaders from what is essential. A common phrase is “the tyranny of the urgent.”
While leaders in every field deal with how to address the balance between these two areas, the stakes increase when considering spiritual/eternal matters.
Jesus was the Master at asking questions. One of the great studies of the Gospel accounts involves the questions asked by or of Jesus. A study of these questions demonstrates the powerful leadership of our Lord.
Spiritual leaders are needed who recognize what is essential and lead with an urgency to help others discover the way to what is essential for their lives.
Leaders should constantly examine their leadership: abilities, style, resources, and growth.
One of the critical concerns for leadership development is learning to ask the right questions. Based on their book Primal Leadership, Learning To Lead With Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee examine five discoveries needed to make an emotionally intelligent leader.
These discoveries involve asking the following questions:
Who do we want to be as a leader? Considering the answer to this question must go beyond surface or superficial answers.
Who are we? Leaders must constantly examine both strengths and weaknesses to determine where we are in our leadership.
Do we work on developing who we want to be, or what someone else wants us to be? This can be one of the strongest challenges leaders face.
Are we willing to form new habits of practice? Developing a new mindset and implementing the necessary changes to grow in our leadership is key to reaching goals.
What emphasis are we placing upon developing relationships? The power of relationships help build confident leadership.
Consideration of these five areas will point us in the right direction for leadership development.