Can you effectively lead without having all the answers? Will others follow when you’re not the source of all knowledge? Or might it be possible that having all the right answers might actually get in the way of leading others effectively?
Now before you answer these questions ask yourself this – what is the role of a leader? Is it to be the source of all knowledge? Or is it to be a guide to others in their journey of discovery, to empower others by helping them find their own answers?
Consider this reality – knowledge is power, so having all the knowledge of knowledge means having all the power. Now admittedly leaders need power and good leaders use power for good reasons. But power and knowledge are not scarce resources to be held tightly and handed out like war rations. Instead they are much more like Black-eyed Susan’s, when planted in well watered and fertilized soil, spread and fill a garden with beauty.
In other words, leadership is about multiplying power not keeping and hording it. And the most effective way to multiply power is to help others learn how to discover their own answers to their questions, to gain their own understanding and knowledge.
How do we help others do this? We shy away from the temptation to simply answering their questions; instead we answer their questions with our own thoughtful, probing questions. We use the right questions to guide and direct others in their journey of discovering the right answers. Because when a person discovers their own answers they’re empowered with their new knowledge to anticipate, act and respond to the world around them.
So in leadership it’s better to ask the right questions than have all the right answers.
“Past performance is the best predictor of future performance.” I learned this fundamental truth about people back in my days as a corporate recruiter. It was drilled into me through the interview training I received and built into the selection processes we used, the same selection processes used in many organizations today.
Yet, I have to admit, there’s been many times when I didn’t want to accept it as true. I wanted to believe people can change. That their past behavior doesn’t mean that’s how they will act in the future.
I’ve, at times, ignored this truth, because I wanted to trust people when they said they’ve changed. But, almost every time I’ve turned my back on this truth, I’ve regretted it.
Why? Because the truth is the truth – past performance is the best predictor of future performance – because most people don’t change.
But can this be the only truth about people? Is this the last word about what we can expect from others, from ourselves?
The answer is no, it’s not the only possibility. People can and do change. It’s rare, but it’s possible. But the second truth is this – people do not change by themselves. It requires something significant to happen to a person for true change to take place and cause a break from their past.
That “something significant” needs to go deep and rattle a person down to the core of their being, and in that place, true transformation happens. And always, at the center of this “something significant” is Jesus Christ, because it’s God who ultimately transforms lives, who grants people a lasting break from their past.
This is why I’ve committed my vocational life to Christian camping. Because Christian camps create those “something significant” experiences, where God steps in, goes down deep, rattles the core of a person, and leads them to a place of true transformation where the past is no longer a predictor of the future.43.928283-85.286682