5 Questions Every Leader Needs To Ask

Leaders who have been around awhile may have a tendency to answer questions rather than ask them. I’m not sure why leaders stop asking questions. Maybe it’s a lack of curiosity? Pride? Fear of letting others know they are asking for help? I'm sure it’s different for everyone. Sometimes, when we think we know it all, we start lecturing instead of listening. I have been guilty of all the above at one time or another in my leadership life.

In this simple post I wanted to pose 5 questions for all leaders to consider. I believe if we do our best to ask and answer these five questions on a regular basis we have incredible potential to become great leaders.

1. What Am I Learning?

If we want to be leaders then we need to be a learners. When the memories of our past success outnumber the dreams in our future its safe to say then end is near. Remember, it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts the most. Reading books, articles and blogs that not only agree or support our line of thinking but books, articles and blogs that challenge our line of thinking are just as good if not better at giving us a new perspective. What are you reading these days that is helping you learn something new?

2. Where Am I Going?

I’m not talking about why you are here or what your purpose in life is. I am making the assumption you already have that nailed down. I’m talking about today. Where are you going today that is helping you achieve your purpose in life? Is there an end in mind? With the many distractions that can interrupt each day it’s easy to punch a to do list and miss the big picture. What did you do today, specifically, that fits with your purpose in life?

3. Who Is Going With Me?

Leaders don’t go it alone, they take others with them. Some call it coaching, mentoring or walking alongside someone else for the purpose of connection and pouring what you know into someone else. Rosalyn Carter said that, “a good leader takes people where they want to go and ought to be but a great leaders takes people where they don’t want to go but ought to be." So, who is going with you today? Who are you training? Who are you pouring your life into?

4. What Am I Saying?

Leaders communicate, that’s a fact. You may not see yourself as a great communicator and you don’t have to be in order to be a great leader. However, it’s extremely important to know what you are saying. What is the vision, mission and direction your team needs to hear about today? Are you saying one thing and doing another? It’s important to be single minded with your vision, "for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:6a-8 NASBtr

5. How Am I Saying It?

“The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips.” Proverbs 16:23 NASB. Leaders know that it’s not just what you say but how you say it that counts. Body language, facial expression, tone and cadence all make a difference in your communication and are often heard louder than your voice.

I like how Colossians 4:6 reads in the Amplified Version. "Let your speech at all times be gracious, pleasant and winsome, seasoned as it were with salt, so that you may never be at a loss to know how you ought to answer anyone who puts a question to you" Colossians 4:6 AMP. Now, read the following words and their definitions within the context of speaking.

  • Gracious: To be courteous and express kindness. To be polite.
  • Pleasant: To be enjoyable and show manners. To be accepting.
  • Winsome: To be sweet and engaging. To be charming.
  • Seasoned: To improve the flavor of something. To add spice.

I have an appointment on my calendar labeled “Today.” I move it each day from the past day to the present as a reminder for “Today.” The quotes and verses It contains are things I want to remember or need to be reminded of.” One of the quotes is in Latin.

"contemplari et contemplata aliis tradere"
(To contemplate and to hand on to others the fruits of my contemplation.)

The reminder for me in these words is to not just say what I am always thinking but run my thoughts through the filter of contemplation. Then, after they have been “thought over” they are ready to be shared should the need or moment arise. What do you think? Or better yet, how do you say what you think?

What question do you need to answer today? 1 -2 - 3 - 4 or 5?
Is there a question you often ask yourself as a leader? What is it?

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com image ID: 119618704 Levent Konuk