This is a contributing post by Ralph Mayhew who has been leading people for years and blogs at www.ralphmayhew.com. He loves helping leaders lead better and overcome the obstacles they are facing. He’s also on facebook at www.facebook.com/ralph.mayhew and is releasing a new book very soon called The Anonymous Leader – www.theanonymousleader.com
There are five questions I wish I had answered many years before I did. When you start leading you don’t ever realize the importance of these questions but they are absolutely essential if you are to lead in a fulfilling way over the long haul.
Leaders who have been leading for a long time have conditioned themselves to be aware to the five answers to these five questions, which enable them to confidently move forward. Emerging leaders however don’t have it so easy, and these challenges can become real roadblocks if they’ve not addressed beforehand.
Please take seriously these five questions and respond to them with diligence and wisdom. If you do they will propel your leadership forward, if you don’t they will severely limit your influence.
1. Who is my audience?
There is only one audience who really matters, and that audience doesn’t want to see you on a stage, but behind the scenes serving. God is the audience of one for whom you should lead. If you can lead to impress him and him alone, then all others whom you lead will be enriched. Your insecurity is likely already telling you to lead for your boss or your co-leaders, your spouse or your kids, your church or your employees. Forsake these audiences and lead for that audience of one.
2. What do I do with my life?
A vision is a God given picture that God gives a leader and whispers to them ‘take my people there.’ You cannot lead without a God given vision. Whatever the reason you started leading is, you need identify what vision God has given you and do all you can to lead people toward it.
3. Why do I do what I do?
There needs to be a reason that gets you out of bed and picks you up when you get knocked down. The reason you lead is what will enable you to get back up. It has to be eternal, bigger than yourself, personal and something that owns you as much as you own it. Know your why, be able to articulate it, for it is what God has called you to embrace.
4. Where do I get my worth ?
Who or what you get your worth from will determine your contentment and longevity in leadership. Emerging leaders don’t realize how important this question is to answer and as a result they experience a lot of pain. In my new book The Anonymous Leader, I share how this question was what undid me and left me ruined as a young leader. We need to do all we can to ensure that our worth comes from Jesus and Him alone. Deriving our value from anything or anyone else is to invest in an unsure and temporary thing. When times get tough and you start to feel the strain, the answer to this question, is what holds you or wrecks you.
5. When is it time to move onto the next thing?
Being aware that nothing lasts forever and that God, as he grows his kingdom will require you to grow and move with it, is something emerging leaders are frequently unprepared for. Sometimes you change, sometimes the ministry, role, job or church you’re in changes, sometimes everyone else seems to change or your leader changes or God’s call on your life changes. Being aware that these are all possibilities is really important and will help you transition from one thing to the next with far greater ease. Becoming ready takes time, but it is time well spent as we allow God to speak to us and move us onto his timeframe.
Question: What question do you feel an emerging leader should ask themselves?