The Question Ineffective Leaders Never Ask

I’ve gotten a number of comments on my leadership post a few days ago. It made me continue to think more about the subject of leaders who won’t change. And then, as luck (providence) would have it, Andy Stanley, in his sermon Follow (part 7), talked about leadership and what makes great, willing-to-change leaders. But of course there are no coincidences.

Being a sermon by a Christian, it obviously referenced Jesus. You don’t have to be a Christian, however, to believe that Jesus was an awesome leader. The historical account of his life showed him gaining followers like crazy, and did it an a completely counter-cultural way (then and now). It was innovative, even absurd.

He served.

He came to serve, not be served.

So, whether you think Jesus was the Son of God or just a crazy guy who had a few screws loose but was good at leadership, there is something to learn here.

As Andy Stanley put it in his sermon, all great leaders are servant leaders, and they insinuate themselves into their subordinate workers’ professional lives by conveying an attitude of service, or even flat-out asking, “What can I do to help?” Stanley queries whether we can even imagine the productivity and employee satisfaction in a company where division leaders all asked one person every day “What can I do to help?”

In my experience, the leaders about whom I felt despair that they would ever becoming effective leaders had one thing in common. Their ego was in the way of them becoming effective servant leaders. In other words, they never even thought about asked the question, “What can I do to help?”

That doesn’t mean a leader simply becomes a subordinate to his or her workers and takes orders all day long. It means, as Andy Stanley says, they leverage their authority for the benefit of those under their authority.

So, ask yourself, if you are a leader:

Are you truly a servant leader? If not, why not?

Is it your ego, your own self-interest, that keeps you from becoming a great leader?

What are you going to do about that?

Ask yourself, if you are led by someone else:

Is your boss truly a servant leader? If not, how is that affecting your staff culture and your work productivity?

Is the ineffective leadership trait something you can overlook or work around because you want to stay in your job?

If you can’t overlook it or work around it, what’s your plan?

You need a plan. If ineffective leadership is causing you to phone it in so you don’t have to engage, then you are suffering from the same self centeredness as your ineffective leader. You need to get out and find a place where you are valued and you are doing your best as an employee.

Make a choice to be a servant leader. If you don’t work for one, make a choice to deal with it or find a work situation where you can truly be led.


One thought on “The Question Ineffective Leaders Never Ask

  1. Pingback: Are You a Good Boss or a Bad One? | Mission Sharing Knowledge

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