I love movies. I can remember when I was 12 years old or so that  my dad would give me and my two brothers each a quarter that enabled us to go to the movies and also buy popcorn and a coke.

We often saw two full length movies, plus cartoons on Saturday at the Village Theater in Palm Springs, California where grew up.  I’m not sure if he did it to get us out of the house for a few hours or because we all enjoyed the movies.

I still love watching movies at the theater or at home. I  really love movies which make me think about things as opposed to just offering entertainment.

I’ve observed that good leaders learn how to ask the right questions, whereas poor leaders focus on giving the right answers to questions witch, at times, people are no longer asking.

If you saw the movie “A Few Good Men” you will remember both this question posed by Jack Nicholson and  the answer by Tom Cruise.

Jack: Are we clear?

Tom: Crystal!

It’s a question that needs to be asked over and over again by a leader to those being led.


In many cases it may seem pretty clear to leaders in their heads, but not clear at all to those on the receiving end. Many followers may not be able to answer “Crystal” but rather:

  • Not really
  • Honestly I’m confused
  • Not as clear as I would like it to be
  • It use to be “Crystal” but now it’s pretty fuzzy

Hear are six questions which followers very much need crystal clarity on:

  1. Are we clear as to the vision of our organization, company, church or group—where we are    going, why we are going there and how we intend to get there?

       2. Are we clear regarding your job description—what exactly are we asking you to do?

       3. Are we clear as to our expectations of what we would like to see happen as a result of what you do?

       4. Are we clear on what authority you have to make decisions and spend money?

       5. Are we clear (and in agreement) on goals you have set for yourself?

        6. Are we having enough time together to make sure we are communicating well—not making assumptions, jumping to conclusions or misunderstanding each other?

Here are four questions every follower should be able to ask their leader without fear, shame or embarrassment.

  1. Will you tell me what you want me to do?
  2. Will you let me do it?
  3. Will you tell  me how I’m doing?
  4. Will you help me if need it?

My fellow leader. How do you feel you are doing in making things CLEAR?

Even more importantly, how do those on your team feel you are doing making things CLEAR?

Would they say CRYSTAL, or would you hear something quite different?

Why not ask them?