A Question Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, authors Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones share a question they ask when consulting executives. They say that when they confront these corporate leaders with this question, the response is typically silence and squirming! Are you ready for it?

Here you go: “Why would anyone want to be led by you?”

I was asked this question eight years ago, and I was just as stunned. It is a very good question. As leaders, we look critically at our volunteers or staff, asking how they could improve their performance or better meet objectives. But this question flips things around on us.

I like to ask it this way: “What is it like to be led by me?” or “What is it like to be in the pew while I am in the pulpit?”

The answers don’t have to be negative. In fact, answering this question should surface our leadership strengths as well as our gaps. If I want to see my church grow in its competencies and execution, I need to develop myself.

When you grow, it spills over to your congregation and inevitably makes them better. Below I’ve listed some statements that I want those on my team to be able to say because of the way I lead them:

Because I am in this congregation under you …

      • I have a closer relationship with God.
      • I am consistently being challenged and growing in my faith and leadership skills.
      • I get to serve in the areas of my strengths.
      • I feel I am a part of something bigger than myself.
      • I know my voice is heard, understood, and valued.
      • I’m better able to maintain a work / life balance that benefits my family.

This type of leadership doesn’t just happen by accident. It requires a high amount of introspection and intentionality. I encourage you to ask yourself these three questions (and be sure to write down your answers in a journal to reflect on):

      • What is it like to be led by me?
      • Which of the “Because I am in this congregation under you” statements do I think I need to grown in most?
      • What needs to change in my leadership in order to affect the right result?

by: Rev. Jason Scheler, Mission Executive of the LCMS Southern District

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