Leadership Diagnostic Questions

Over the past few weeks, I have been writing about leadership. Here are a few diagnostic questions that you can use to examine your own leadership, see how you are doing, and, with the help of the Lord, move you toward better leadership.

  1. Do I have a clear vision of where I want people to be? Read about this here.
  2. Do I know what things about me could hinder my leadership? Read more about this here.
  3. Have I connected with those I want to lead sufficiently to make an impact on them? Read about this here.
  4. Do I know what they need to do to get where they need to be? Read about this here.
  5. Have I communicated the vision and the means to get there sufficiently and with clarity? Read about this here.
  6. Is my own life consistent with what I am telling people to do? Read about this here.
  7. Do I believe that my leadership can make a difference? Read about this here.

Questions on how to help people move forward:

  • Am I expecting too much change at once? Have I understood that this is a process? Read about this here.
  • Do people need steps that will help them move from where they are to where they could and should be? Read about this here.
  • Do people need encouragement to take the steps that they could and should take? Read about this here.
  • Do I need to have a conversation about the wrong steps that people are taking? Read about this here.


Photo by Anthony Tori on Unsplash

Can Leadership Make a Difference? Absolutely.

Can leadership make a difference in the world? Absolutely.

It’s easy to look at situations in the world and think that there is no hope. However, leaders can make a difference. This is obvious from the Bible, history, and our own experience, as we shall see below.

So, why do we look at situations and think that leadership can make no difference?

1. We reacted to a situation, and it didn’t change things. Oftentimes, we show our displeasure in a situation by getting upset, trying to solve it, or moving away from it. We think we have shown leadership, but it made no difference. For example, imagine you have someone in your life who you would like to do better in school. When you saw that they were doing poorly, you got upset. They kept doing poorly. You kept getting upset. It made little difference. The result is people think that leadership makes little difference. They have reacted to a situation rather than giving real thought to what will make it better.

2. We have not been clear on where we are leading people. I am a Pastor, and I have a lot of friends who are pastors. It’s easy for Pastors to react negatively when people don’t attend the activities and programs of their church. However, where are we leading people? What do we want people to do? Is our main goal for them to come to the activities of our church? Is that our real goal for people? Oftentimes, we act like that, and, frankly, it’s not a real compelling vision. A better vision is to build people of faith who serve out of love for God and others. If that is the goal, have we made that as clear as we have made our desire that they go to services? Are we really clear on where we want people to be and how they get there? Continue reading “Can Leadership Make a Difference? Absolutely.”

4 Tools to Help People Move Forward (Part 2)

Sometimes people won’t take the steps that they are capable of taking. I had a friend who was considering serving as a deacon in his church. I thought he was very capable of doing it. However, he didn’t think that he could. He was afraid to take that step. We had a conversation, and I asked him, “In the Bible, what does God say every time He calls someone to do something?”

He answered, “Get at it?”

I said, “No. He says, ‘I will be with you.'”

That’s what God does. He encourages those who have fear to take the steps they can take and promises them help on the way. That’s also what He told the leaders of the church in Thessalonica to do for others. “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thess. 5:14).

Last time, we looked at the last two phrases, which I call the first two tools. The first is patience. We need to remember that leadership is a process. People need time to get moving in a particular direction and to grow. The second tool is giving people steps. The goal often seems too daunting. They need steps that will help them get there.

Encourage Them to Take Steps
However, what if people won’t take the steps they can take? We need to encourage their steps. “Encourage the disheartened,” as Paul says. But how do we do it?

1. Remind people of things that they have already done. When my son was 12 and my daughter 9, we hiked Mount LeConte. Mount LeConte is the big mountain that you can see from almost everywhere in our county. We actually ended up hiking about 14 miles that day. They did it, and they did it well. If I had asked them, though, “Can you hike 14 miles?” They probably would have said, “No.” But this showed them that they had more in them than they thought. From time to time thereafter, they would think they couldn’t do something that I knew they could. I would point to Mount LeConte, “Remember hiking Mount LeConte? You’ve got more in you than you think.” Continue reading “4 Tools to Help People Move Forward (Part 2)”

4 Tools to Help People Move Forward (Part 1)

Our default is to lead by reaction. We see something we don’t like in people, and then we react to it. We criticize. We complain. We attack. We withdraw. We show our displeasure and hope people will change. That’s leadership by reaction. It’s all too common. We rarely stop and think and pray about situations. We just react to them. This does not do much good to us or to those we are leading.

Effective leadership requires something different. It requires thought and vision. It requires clarity on where we want to be and how we are going to get there. It requires communication of that vision and the path that people need to take. It requires connecting well with the people we want to lead.

But that’s not enough. Leaders also help people move forward on the path. How? The Apostle Paul lists four ways or four tools in his letter to the church in Thessalonica. He told the leaders in that church, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thess. 5:14). I will deal with these in the reverse order. I see the Apostle Paul as telling us: remember it’s a process, give people steps, encourage people to take those steps, and have the hard conversations.

Remember It’s a Process
One thing about reactive leadership is that it is impatient. I don’t like what you’re doing, and it needs to stop right now! This is based on a dislike of what is observed and a desire for it to be different.

However, that’s not really how humans work. Change takes time. If we are going to help people move forward, we have to remember that it’s a process. This is true not only for others. It is true for ourselves. We don’t and didn’t change in a day. Change occurs over time. It is more complex than we often think. We have a set of assumptions that govern our behavior and are wired into our bodies. This can change, but it takes place over time. Continue reading “4 Tools to Help People Move Forward (Part 1)”

Why Don’t People Get It? You’ve Got to Teach Them

How do you react when people in your family, organization, or church don’t do what they are supposed to be doing? How do you react when they just don’t seem to get it?

It’s easy for a leader to get frustrated when people don’t do what they are supposed to do. It’s easy to look out in dismay at those around us and say, “Man, these people just don’t get it. They’re going the wrong way.”

Whenever a leader feels that frustration, a good idea is to ask herself, have I made clear where I want people to do and how they are supposed to do it? Have I really taught people what to do? Continue reading “Why Don’t People Get It? You’ve Got to Teach Them”