I’ve heard it said that it’s better to ask the right questions than to give the right answers.
Asking good questions of the right people is a fantastic way to learn and grow as a leader. You obviously grow more by listening than by talking.
A number of years ago (while we were serving in Sweden), a young doctor whom I was discipling decided to take some time off from his practice and travel for a few weeks around the United States, meet as many Christian leaders as he could, and ask each of them a series of questions.
He learned a ton and became a better leader as a result of this trip and the answers he received to his questions. He tape recorded everything he heard and had a “Treasure Trove” for his ongoing leadership development.
If you are a younger leader, or new at leadership but a bit older, here are some suggested questions you may want to ask of a more seasoned, godly and fruitful leader.
1. What are the top three attributes you look for in a potential leader?
2. What is your definition of leadership success?
3. What is the most difficult decision you ever made and why?
4. What is the worst decision you ever made and what did you learn from it?
5. What was the best decision you ever made and why?
6. What one piece of advice would you give to a younger, newer, leader?
I WILL BEGIN THE PROCESS BY GIVING YOU MY ANSWERS TO THE SIX QUESTIONS:
1. A teachable spirit, a solid and deepening walk with Jesus and a contagious passion.
2. I would define success as maintaining a healthy relationship with God and others as I pursue a clearly defined God-given life purpose, which honors Him and helps me to carry out the Great Commission and the great commandment.
3. Letting somebody go who has been on my team. It’s difficult because I know there will be potential pushback and fall-out which I will have to deal with, as well as perhaps being unpopular and misunderstood for a while–maybe a long while.
4. The worst decision (and I made it more than once) I ever made was waiting too long to take action I should have taken. I wimped out on more than one occasion due to fear of what people would think, say or might do. In a few instances, I regret not doing what I knew I needed to do and unduly procrastinated due to cowardice on my part. I was more interested in pleasing men than pleasing God (Galatians 1:10). I believe that delayed obedience can be disobedience.
5. Narrowing my focus on developing leaders for the rest of my life. It happened as a result of getting clarity on what my purpose, calling and vision was and then, by his grace, deciding to reorient how I used my time, gifts and energy so as to focus on developing the next generation of leaders in local churches. One of the smartest things I ever decided as I was led and empowered by Him.
6. Here’s my advice to a young leader. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and get clarity on who you are and what God is calling you to do; then do it with great passion and great joy for the rest of your life so you will be a “Leader Who Lasts.”
Please consider taking these six questions and select a few leaders whom you respect and look up to and gain some wisdom from them so you can be the best leader you can be as you are led by Him, empowered by Him and seek to honor Him.