The Two Questions Every Leader Must Answer

2 questionsEverybody leads somebody.  You may not view yourself as a leader, but more than likely someone is following you.  I recently realized this for myself.  I had led in some capacity for about twelve years before becoming a mom, and there were responsibilities and roles I held that indicated that I was leading.  Now as a mom, I may not have a formal title or a paycheck, but the call to lead remains.  Instead of leading teams though, I now lead children.

Because leadership is essentially influence.

Becoming a mom was a long desired goal of mine that God made a reality for me.  Motherhood has not sidetracked me from leading, it has redirected it.  My children are following me every day, and they are always watching and listening (well, maybe not always)… 😉

Maybe you are a mom and lead children like me.  Or maybe you are at the bottom of the totem pole in a large corporation with no direct employees “under” you.  Perhaps you shy away from being an “upfront” leader and never really see yourself as one who carries influence.  You may lead a non-profit organization or a ministry team of some kind.  Wherever you are or however you see yourself, you are influencing others around you everyday.  With this in mind, I believe that there are two questions that each of us must answer in order to steward our leadership in the best way.

The Two Questions    

1.  Where are you going?

2.  Who are you taking with you?

Where Are You Going?

Answering this question involves your personal vision.  Not one of us really knows what our lives will look like a year or ten years from now, but vision involves capturing a sense of where you want to land.  What do you value?  What do you want the the makeup of your life to be say, twenty years from now?  Forget specifics.  Think dreams and values.

Who Are You Taking With You?

Look around you.  Who do you interact with on a daily or weekly basis?  Co-workers, neighbors, family members, ministry teams, sports teams, scouts, clubs…you name it.  You know who your “people” are.  Remember, leadership involves influence not necessarily authority, although it may include both.  We all benefit through mentoring.  I am indebted to those who mentored me along the way, and I am better for it.  As you pursue your vision, take others along with you.  Invest in people more than tasks.  Let others in on your dreams and values, and become interested in theirs.

I am not saying that everyone is a leader in the sense of authority.  What I am saying is that we are all influencing somebody.  From time to time we need to pause and answer these two questions, and the New Year is a great time to do this.  These are broad categories (vision and mentoring), but they are a place to start.  Once you get a big picture of the trajectory of your life you can then hammer out the details such as goal setting.

I’ll leave you with this.

We cannot know or control the details of our lives.  That is God’s job.  We should plan as Proverbs 16:9 says, “The heart of man plans his way…” while keeping in mind that “the Lord establishes his steps.”  Let’s dream.  Let’s build.  Let’s bring people with us.  But let us entrust our lives and our people to our Maker, believing that He will accomplish His perfect will for us all.

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