Do you know someone who asks good questions?
Someone who knows how to foster good conversation?
Someone who causes you to think thoughts you’ve never thought before?
Someone who helps you evaluate?
When I think back on my life, there have been critical questions asked at critical times that have shaped my path.
Something else I’ve noticed is good questions keep me on track.
One of my teammates asks excellent questions that seem to redirect me toward what matters.
What I’m saying is asking the right questions can make a big difference.
With that in mind, I’d like to share three questions I have learned to ask myself to improve my leadership.
Am I Moving Too Fast?
I am the type of person who is constantly in motion. I’m always doing something.
Even when it comes to times of rest, I’d rather play a game than sit in a hammock.
When it comes to reading, I attempt to read as many books as possible…as if I’m competing with someone.
Everything is fast with me. Maybe you can relate.
There are positives to speed, but there are also negatives.
I can get a lot done very quickly, but reflection, caution, thoroughness, and deliberation are not words that are natural to me.
However, these are words that are necessary for good decision making and deep thinking.
They are words that are necessary for leadership.
I have to constantly ask myself,
“Am I moving too fast?”
“Am I taking time to think this decision through?”
“Have I really processed this?”
Something I have been attempting to do more of is creating whitespace in my life.
Whitespace is time with no agenda or objective other than thinking.
I take walks. I ride my bike. I drive.
When I do these things, there is no music, no books, and no phone. The purpose is to think.
These moments help me slow down and think through important decisions.
If you’re wired like me, an important question to ask is, “Am I moving too fast?”
It might be wise to create some whitespace to allow your brain to focus.
I believe this will help you lead more effectively.
Is This My Problem?
One of the biggest “aha” moments of my leadership journey happened when I realized much of my time was spent being managed by the people I was supposed to manage.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Here’s the deal: As leaders, we like to solve problems and come up with solutions.
Even if you’re good at it, the issue can be, we often take on problems that aren’t our problems.
This isn’t good.
First, it keeps you from your most important work.
Second, it keeps the people you are leading from developing.
Third, over time,…it’s exhausting. In fact, you might be exhausted right now.
Here’s the solution: Ask yourself, “Is this my problem?”
When someone brings you a challenge they’re facing, listen carefully and empathetically, and then respond with, “What’s your plan for that?”
When someone complains to you about what someone else did, listen carefully and empathetically, and then ask, “What happened when you talked to them?”
When you take on every problem and attempt to solve it for the people under your leadership, they’re managing you, instead of you managing them.
I find this question, “Is this my problem to solve” to be incredibly helpful.
If you find yourself taking on problems that are not your problem, I highly recommend this little book.
Here’s the scenario: Someone in your church does something you don’t like.
- A decision someone made.
- Something someone said from the stage.
- A mistake from the tech booth.
- A comment from a board member
- A new policy from the business department.
What assumptions do you jump to in these moments?
How do you talk about the people responsible? How do you talk to the people responsible?
There is this tendency in leadership, with all the pressure we are under, and all the weight we are carrying, to make assumptions about the things people do and say.
And these assumptions often don’t consider the full humanity of the people involved, the fact that they’re likely doing their best, or that they probably care very much about their work and the church.
When I assume less than the best from others, I find myself talking to and about them as if they are simply pawns on a board, cogs in a machine, or worse, idiots in my way.
I want to be the kind of leader that always treats people well, even when they make mistakes or make choices I disagree with.
When I assume the best, it helps me treat people as people in their mistakes, keeping me from jumping to conclusions.
This is incredibly important because my initial reactions are often wrong.
In summary, good leadership requires intentionality.
It requires asking ourselves good questions.
Am I moving too fast? Is this my problem? What am I assuming?
As you strive to grow as a church leader, I hope this post has been helpful.