October 24, 2022

Lead With Questions

How many times have you known exactly what someone you care about should do but you have been unable to get them to do it?

Most leaders can see what is good for people, and giving tips or telling people what they need to do is not hard for most leaders. However, merely telling others what they should do is not very effective for motivating people or getting people to change.

Unfortunately, people are often resistant to change, even when it would be beneficial for them. Former first lady Rosalynn Carter once said, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

Thankfully there is a pattern for helping people change to achieve what was once only possible. The philosopher Dallas Willard discovered that all human accomplishment follows the same pattern — vision, intention, and means. In other words, a great leader helps people change by helping them change their view of success, guiding them to make commitments, and pointing them to the resources that will enable the change.

To help people truly change we have to be great communicators, and to communicate more effectively, we must learn how to ask better questions.

Jesus was the most effective leader, and greatest communicator in the history of the world. He led people by asking thought stimulating questions, inspirational questions, persuasive questions, and relationship building questions.

We can learn a lot from how Jesus asked questions. The four Gospels record over 300 questions that Jesus asked. Unlike us, Jesus knew the answer to the questions He asked — yet, He still asked them in a curious way that caused those He loved and led to pause and think.

What do you want?

The first recorded words of Jesus in the Gospel of John are “What do you want?” (John 1:38). Some translations phrase the same question, “What do you seek?” Jesus led with this question, and it is an incredibly important question to everyone we lead as well.

“What do you want?” is one of the most important questions in life. Which means it is also a critically important question for each facet of life including work, family, and anything involving relationships. It is a fabulous question for really getting to know someone.

John Bloom gives us other ways to phrase this question:

  • What do you really want?
  • What are you dreaming about having?
  • What’s fueling your hope for the future?
  • What’s capturing your attention most?
  • What are you focusing your reading on?
  • What are you searching the internet for?
  • What are you spending your time and money on?
  • What are you making plans to pursue?

We must understand people's current motivations to lead them well. Often, we need to help people understand their own motivations. Many people are just experimenting or are doing something simply because it is what someone they admire has done. Many people don’t know what they want and they are dissatisfied with how life is going for them.

Oscar Wilde said, “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.” This is especially true when someone does not know what they really need.

Of course, Jesus provides an answer to this important question for those who follow Him.

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matthew 6:33

When someone tells you what they want, you have the best possible starting place to lead them well. And, whether they answer the question honestly or not, our job as leaders is to keep asking questions like Jesus.

What Are You Willing To Risk?

"For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?" - Matthew 16:25-26

“What are you willing to risk?” Is an important clarifying question to ask someone who has given you the answer about what they want. If someone really wants something, they will go to great lengths to achieve it. What someone is willing to sacrifice is indicative of how much someone really wants something.

How Will You Know You Have Found It?

Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. - Matthew 15:31

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 13:44-50

Jesus had just explained three incredibly revealing parables and He does something we should all do as leaders — He checked for acceptance. Jesus checked for acceptance constantly with other questions like?

  • Do you believe that I am able to do this?” - Matthew 9:28
  • “Do you now believe?” - John 16:31
  • “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” - Matthew 16:15

Every day we lead people in what seems like much less significant matters, yet the truth is every day we lead them toward one direction or another. We are either leading them to what they really need or we are not. Since we are not Jesus, the only way for us to know if we are leading them in the right direction is to ask them questions.

Links

What Do You Really Love Most?

All 305 Questions Jesus Asked with 4 Fascinating Discoveries

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Howard Graham
Howard Graham
Executive Director

How many times have you known exactly what someone you care about should do but you have been unable to get them to do it?

Most leaders can see what is good for people, and giving tips or telling people what they need to do is not hard for most leaders. However, merely telling others what they should do is not very effective for motivating people or getting people to change.

Unfortunately, people are often resistant to change, even when it would be beneficial for them. Former first lady Rosalynn Carter once said, “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

Thankfully there is a pattern for helping people change to achieve what was once only possible. The philosopher Dallas Willard discovered that all human accomplishment follows the same pattern — vision, intention, and means. In other words, a great leader helps people change by helping them change their view of success, guiding them to make commitments, and pointing them to the resources that will enable the change.

To help people truly change we have to be great communicators, and to communicate more effectively, we must learn how to ask better questions.

Jesus was the most effective leader, and greatest communicator in the history of the world. He led people by asking thought stimulating questions, inspirational questions, persuasive questions, and relationship building questions.

We can learn a lot from how Jesus asked questions. The four Gospels record over 300 questions that Jesus asked. Unlike us, Jesus knew the answer to the questions He asked — yet, He still asked them in a curious way that caused those He loved and led to pause and think.

What do you want?

The first recorded words of Jesus in the Gospel of John are “What do you want?” (John 1:38). Some translations phrase the same question, “What do you seek?” Jesus led with this question, and it is an incredibly important question to everyone we lead as well.

“What do you want?” is one of the most important questions in life. Which means it is also a critically important question for each facet of life including work, family, and anything involving relationships. It is a fabulous question for really getting to know someone.

John Bloom gives us other ways to phrase this question:

  • What do you really want?
  • What are you dreaming about having?
  • What’s fueling your hope for the future?
  • What’s capturing your attention most?
  • What are you focusing your reading on?
  • What are you searching the internet for?
  • What are you spending your time and money on?
  • What are you making plans to pursue?

We must understand people's current motivations to lead them well. Often, we need to help people understand their own motivations. Many people are just experimenting or are doing something simply because it is what someone they admire has done. Many people don’t know what they want and they are dissatisfied with how life is going for them.

Oscar Wilde said, “There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it.” This is especially true when someone does not know what they really need.

Of course, Jesus provides an answer to this important question for those who follow Him.

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." - Matthew 6:33

When someone tells you what they want, you have the best possible starting place to lead them well. And, whether they answer the question honestly or not, our job as leaders is to keep asking questions like Jesus.

What Are You Willing To Risk?

"For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?" - Matthew 16:25-26

“What are you willing to risk?” Is an important clarifying question to ask someone who has given you the answer about what they want. If someone really wants something, they will go to great lengths to achieve it. What someone is willing to sacrifice is indicative of how much someone really wants something.

How Will You Know You Have Found It?

Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. - Matthew 15:31

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 13:44-50

Jesus had just explained three incredibly revealing parables and He does something we should all do as leaders — He checked for acceptance. Jesus checked for acceptance constantly with other questions like?

  • Do you believe that I am able to do this?” - Matthew 9:28
  • “Do you now believe?” - John 16:31
  • “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” - Matthew 16:15

Every day we lead people in what seems like much less significant matters, yet the truth is every day we lead them toward one direction or another. We are either leading them to what they really need or we are not. Since we are not Jesus, the only way for us to know if we are leading them in the right direction is to ask them questions.

Links

What Do You Really Love Most?

All 305 Questions Jesus Asked with 4 Fascinating Discoveries

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