Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Because our lives are like a mist, here now and gone quickly, we should examine them to ensure we are making the most of the time.
Leaders are merely stewards. We don’t own the people, the ministry or the organization we lead. We merely steward the opportunity for a season. Someone will come along after us. Because our leadership is short, we should lead and serve with thoughtful intentionality. Wise leaders routinely evaluate their lives and leadership. Here are six questions leaders should routinely ask themselves:
1. Who is influencing me?
Whom a leader listens to determines much of what a leader does. So leaders are wise to evaluate the voices that are impacting their decision-making, their perspectives and their attitudes.
2. What am I learning?
Leaders who stop learning will eventually stop leading effectively. A lack of learning in one season of leadership leaves a leader ill-prepared in the next. Max De Pree said that we cannot stop from growing old, but we can stop from growing cold. We can keep growing, learning and developing. And leaders must.
3. What must be repeated?
Max De Pree also said, “Leadership is like third grade: It means repeating the significant things.” The most important things must be repeated so that they remain a priority. Core beliefs, mission and values must never be assumed; they must be continually preached and protected.
4. What should be eliminated?
Leaders often wrestle with capacity, with having the mental and emotional energy to leverage against the most important and essential things. One way to create more capacity is to develop yourself (question 2). Another way to create capacity is to stop doing the unimportant and unnecessary things.
5. Where should I be investing my energy and focus?
Another way to ask this question is “What is most important now?” Without a “now,” leaders can spend time maintaining the status quo. Knowing what is most important now (not necessarily most urgent) can help leaders know where their time and energy can be leveraged.
6. Whom am I developing?
Leaders are responsible for future leadership. If a leader is not developing others, the leader is hampering the growth of the team and threatening the future of the organization.