developing leaders by asking questions

By January 11, 2010Leadership

A few days ago I wrote about how a critical part of developing emerging leaders is to spend time with them.  In order for influence to rub off, we must spend time with those we wish to influence.

Another important aspect of developing leaders is understanding the importance of questions.  Many leaders are good at giving answers.  We also need to be good at asking questions.  But not just any questions — the right questions.

Here’s a short list of good questions to ask an emerging leader:

  • What kind of person do you hope to become?
  • What are you doing to build your relationship with Jesus?
  • How can I help you build a better relationship with Jesus?
  • What are the three most important things in your life right now?  Are you spending the right amount of time on them?
  • What new skill do you need to master in order to lead at the next level?

As leaders, part of our task is to help young leaders define reality.  The best way to do that is by asking clarifying questions.  Ask questions that require thought, that speak to direction.  We want them to examine and challenge.

One benefit we bring to the table is experience.  With the advantage of hindsight, we can help younger leaders avoid some of the pitfalls that we fell into.  How many disasters have been averted simply because someone asked us the right question!