As leaders we sometimes think we need to have all the answers. Maybe we feel as though others expect us as leaders to bring all the solutions. Isn’t that what leaders do? Post-modern leaders are being challenged with a different way of leading.
“Good leaders ask great questions that inspire others to dream more,
think more, learn more, do more, and become more.”
John C. Maxwell
When we show up with the pressure of needing to have all the solutions for every problem, we limit all potential and possibility. As leaders, we limit the opportunity of showing up with a sense of curiosity and openness of what can happen in collaboration with others. We also limit the potential of our team to contribute to the solution and consequently have ownership in the solution. We limit the chance for a better answer then our own when we show up with the direction already calculated and ready to implement. As Christian leaders, we limit the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work in the asking of the question and the resulting conversation of our team. It is almost as if we don’t have the confidence or the faith that the answer will be in the room when we only come with answers.
As a trained and credentialed coach, I have grown to appreciate the power of a great question. When working with clients, my responsibility in the partnership is to bring out the best in the client. I believe the client is full of potential and answers. The questions help the client excavate their own truth and power.
When is the last time you prepared for a conversation, staff meeting, or leadership team meeting by spending time in prayer and discernment for a powerful question that would spark the imagination of the team? What powerful question would inspire potential, hope, and endless possibility for what could be? What powerful question could open up curiosity, creativity, innovation, and freedom for boundary-free paths forward?
The burden of a required solution is quite heavy for a leader to carry alone. There is undue pressure created when we as leaders require or expect ourselves to show up with solutions, the right solution, time and time again. In contrast, we can instead invest in discerning the most powerful question to bring out the best in our team. This approach is more life-giving for both, us as leaders as well as our team. We take the pressure off ourselves and empower our team. It is as though the requirement for answers is restricting, but the asking of a powerful question is freeing. It is liberating for both the leaders as well as the team.
The next time you as a leader are searching for a solution or a new pathway forward, relieve yourself from the expectation of finding the solution alone. Instead invest in creating a powerful question that will ignite, empower, encourage, and set your team free for together seeking a collaborative solution. You will be amazed at the results. The faithful way forward is likely something that was not on our own radar and will bear more fruitfulness. Afterall, I think Jesus is a pretty darn good role model for us and He asked lots of questions!