8 Questions to Ask if you Want to Lead Well
Adaptive leaders who are seeking to live well have a knack for asking the right questions at the right time to reframe how our ministries unfold. The questions below are ones you may find helpful and you seek to live and lead well.
- Who are we seeking to reach and how are we seeking to positively impact their lives? Stephen Covey reminds us to “begin with the end in mind.” When leaders fail to adequately define the results they are seeking, for themselves and others, we often lose sight of the “why” that provides the motivation and energy to move forward.
- Which leaders do I admire and what would they do if they were in my situation? Would they rally people around a shared vision? Call out what’s not working? Inspire people to move beyond their comfort zones? Sow seeds of hope and possibility? Reflecting on the leaders we admire often bring out God’s best in ourselves.
- Who else needs to be at the table? Whose voice needs to be heard? Who might help us think bigger and bolder? Who keeps us focused on what matters most to God? Who has the gifts for help make our intentions a reality? Effective leaders realize that they can’t do it by themselves and actively engage others in the process.
- How do we position and equip people for maximum impact? Like in the book, Good to Great, do we get the right people on the bus and in the right seats? Do you explain what we’re asking people to do, why we feel that they’re the right person for the job, and ask them what they need from us to do their best work?
- What no longer energizes us, or the people we seek to serve? Most programs and ministries lose steam over a period of time. Sometimes these activities need to reimagined, repurposed or perhaps even given a funeral. Leader who lead well invest their energies into building on what’s already working, and giving birth to new possibilities rather than propping up ministries that no longer have the impact, reach, and energy they did in the past.
- Who’s disengaged, dissatisfied or not keeping up? Most organizations have individuals who are, in some fashion, preventing the organization from being its best. These individuals play the role of a victim, invest their energies into gossip and negative talk or may have a “good enough” mindset. They fail to continuously upgrade their attitudes, assumptions, actions, and skills, and by not doing so, create norms that become an impediment to those who wish to move forward. In worst case scenarios, they become the reason why some outstanding leaders leave your organization.
- What people, programs and practices have we become beholden to? Many churches and leaders have fallen in love with programs and practices that were meaningful several decades ago but no longer have the same impacts. We fail to acknowledge out “attachments” to the past and make decisions that don’t reflect our current reality. Churches would benefit from periodically imagining themselves to be a “start up” organization, asking themselves, “If we were starting from scratch, what elements from the past would we take into the future.
- In what ways am I holding our organization back? What is it about my assumptions, attitudes, and actions that are no longer helpful? Where have I failed to move beyond my personal preferences and comfort zones? In what ways am I sabotaging myself and those I seek to service? How might I get out of my own way or learn to step aside when needed?
Consider asking yourself these questions on a monthly or quarterly basis. Share them with colleagues when they’re preparing for annual reviews. Raise one or more of these questions at a staff meeting, or a leadership retreat.