Asking These 20 Questions of Others Will Help You Become a Better Leader

A leader needs to be a learner.

And, the learning needs to be constant. It proves itself to be true over and over again that you can learn from anyone in any leadership position. In fact, some of the greatest leadership lessons I have gained have been from those who felt they were in “lower” positions. The idea of this was driven home for me when LifeWay Research (which I was a part of for three years) did the study for Transformational Church. Many of the pastors that we interviewed based on the health of their church would ask, “Why me? Why are you interviewing a pastor like me in a normal church like this?” What they did not know is just how important their leadership was to the life a church that we needed to learn from.

Leaders, as a group, look for the superstars among our particular type of organization and learn from that perceived top echelon. Pastors are no different. So, my encouragement is that no matter what work you do, learn from everyone you can.

As I’ve been mulling over how I can more intentionally learn from others, I began putting together a list of questions that I hope to pose to more and more people. When I meet other leaders, here’s what I want to know. Please feel free to add in your ideas in the comments section.

1. What book has had the greatest impact on your understanding of leadership?

2. What are the most important “nuts and bolts” lesson that you can give me?

3. What are your reading habits?

4. What blogs do you read on a regular basis?

5. Who are the historical figures who have influenced you the most?

6. What other arenas of leadership to look to learn from?

7. Tell me about the pieces of technology, apps, and software that helps you the most.

8. Did anyone put you through an intentional plan for leadership development? What was the plan?

9. Do you have a plan to intentionally develop yourself as a leader?

10. Do you have a plan to intentionally develop others into leaders?

11. How do you separate yourself effectively from work to rest?

12. What are your main goals in leadership?

13. Describe your process for developing a vision and mission for your organization.

14. What is your daily schedule of work?

15. How do you design and hold a great meeting?

16. Do brainstorming meetings really work? If so, how do you one well?

17. What do you do with a team members who has bad chemistry with the rest of the team?

18. What offenses require you to immediately terminate someone’s employment?

19. What are the best hiring practices and processes you’ve used or seen?

20. How do you admit and fix a problem in your leadership?

20. What do you want to go back and change?

Read more from Philip here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Nation

Philip Nation

I serve as the pastor at First Baptist Church of Bradenton, Florida and frequently speak at churches and conferences. I earned a Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2010-2012, I was the national spokesperson for the Back to Church Sunday campaign from Outreach. Over the years, I’ve served as a pastor, minister of education, and a church planter. In 2016, I published Habits for Our Holiness: How the Spiritual Disciplines Grow Us Up, Draw Us Together, and Send Us Out with Moody Publishers. I’ve coauthored two other books: Compelled: Living the Mission of God and Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow. I was also the general editor of The Mission of God Study Bible. Along the way, I have written the small-group studies Storm Shelter: Psalms of God’s Embrace, Compelled by Love: The Journey to Missional Living and Live in the Word, plus contributed to The Great Commission Resurgence: Fulfilling God’s Mandate in Our Lifetime.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

CTCLYT — 01/29/14 9:18 am

The greatest leader of all time was Jesus Christ himself. Simply because he empowered his disciples with knowledge to go out be great leaders themselves. In today's world, leaders dont want to share knowledge, they want to be on top and keep everyone below them. The best leaders share everything they know and give their team members the confidence they need to become leaders themselves. A great leader will believe in you. A great leader will give you freedom to make decisions. A great leader will be very happy for you when you reach the top.

Steve — 01/16/14 12:34 pm

"Do you have a plan to intentionally develop others into leaders?" Great question - I believe this question underscores a key biblical principle. Probably the most overlooked biblical principle in the church today. Jesus empowered His disciples and instructed them to go and do likewise. Nevertheless, Jesus did not abandon nor forsake His disciples, He promised to be with them always. By the power of the Holy Ghost, God’s Word provides lesson after lesson after lesson. In Christ we will never stop learning. Thanks and have a Christ filled day! Steve

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

One Lesson of Zig Ziglar’s Legacy that will Change Your Life

Zig Ziglar died November 28 2012 at the age of 86. He was motivational maven with millions of followers. His twenty-plus books, uber-positive style, and Christian influence are manifested clearly through his ubiquitously sticky quotes. Dave Ramsey tweeted yesterday, “What’s your favorite Zig Ziglar quote?” Here are my favorites with regard to vision and clarity.

As the rest-in-peace tweets and favorite quotes filled the social air waves, I found myself asking, “Was there a special secret to Ziglar’s success?” I believe so.

If you trace Ziglar’s career in sales, one thing is abundantly clear: He was a great salesman because he was a great student; a student of people, a student of life and a student of other salespeople. In fact his success at its core was driven by his continual intake and carnivorous digestion.  Think about it for a minute. Does someone as prolific and successful as Ziglar just sit around thinking of quotes to write? Of course not. Rather, the accelerated learning-living-learning cycle just keeps snowballing. The wisdom, combined with the opportunity to teach others over decades and decades gets remixed and refined into powerful, unforgettable nuggets.

Remember, most very successful people can conveniently stop learning because of the fruits of their success. But a few successful people keep pouring the jet fuel of continued learning to really take them to the top.

One thumbprint of Ziglar’s appetite for learning is the preface of his 2003 updated edition of Secrets of Closing the Sale:

Over the past fifty years it has been my privilege to be in as many actual sales situations, selling goods, products, services or job opportunities as virtually anyone who ever carried the tile of salesperson. Additionally it has been my privilege to share the platform with and learn from some of the greatest speakers and sales trainers our country has produced.

He goes on to name twenty-six individuals. And continues…

Over these fifty years I have been a pack rat. I have taken copious notes from many great trainers. In addition I have clipped innumerable sales articles from newspapers and magazines and have learned much by watching salespeople in action. My library includes books and manuals from the greatest writers and trainers of the last fifty years, and I have over a thousand hours of recordings from these and other speakers.

The lesson that Ziglar’s life inspires me with is simple. Never stop learning. Once you master a category, the real master keeps learning even more. What’s keeping you from reaching the top of what God is calling you to do? Look first to what stops your learning. When was the last time you took copious notes at something that you considered yourself to be really, really good at?

You will find a lot of Ziglar quotes if you look, but his greatest secret is not the most citied quote:

“Life is a classroom — only those who are willing to be lifelong learners will move to the head of the class.”  – Zig Ziglar

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Greatest Secret for Continuous Learning

Auxano is a ministry guided by three values:

  1. Clarity First
  2. Carnivorous Learning
  3. Contagious Passion for the Church, the Bride of Christ

 

Our second value is anchored by the mantra: Lead with questions, not answers.

To some degree learning comes natural and is guided by human curiosity. But in other ways learning is a skill to be cultivated. As I’ve tried to grow as a learner, I have gained one overarching insight; one great secret:

Learning is a free, daily opportunity to those who seize it.

  • Anyone I meet can teach me something
  • People always like sharing what they know
  • I can ask questions about anything I’m experiencing or observing
  • Information has never been more accessible

 

A fantastic story to illustrate this secret comes from Bob Buford, a student of Peter Drucker. In a recent Leadership Network blog post, he shares this story:

Peter Drucker had an exquisite collection of Japanese painting and calligraphy on scrolls, many housed in museums. Peter took three scrolls out every month to display in his home. We used to stand in front of an ancient Japanese painting with Peter advising me in two words that the way to study art is to “Just Look.”

Twenty years ago, I began doing just that by purchasing used art books from Half Price Books and tearing out three pages every day to pin up on cork board in my walk-in closet where I dress each morning. You can do the same. Just find a used book store (The Strand in NYC) and start pinning up a few reproductions every day or so. Or you can buy a terrific and inexpensive book, titled A Year in Art, which has the great paintings with succinct commentaries. Tear ‘em out and “just look.” It is like a trip to The Met with no excess baggage fees.

I love this story because Bob, although an accomplished man, continuously delights in feeding his mind and growing his perspective.

I ran into this quote yesterday at Next Level Leadership: “When a leader surrenders their willingness to learn, they also surrender their right to lead.”

Stoke your willingness to learn today. It’s free. It’s your choice.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

VRcurator — 12/12/12 7:04 am

Thanks for the great comment, Jim!

jim mcfarland — 12/11/12 10:53 pm

With Elders, I always suggest including these three questions in elders meetings: 1. What have you loved? 2. Who or How have you led? 3. What have you learned? When Elders lose focus of any of these three questions, they find their perspective altered and focus diffused.

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.