I have a four-year-old who is a never-ending stream of questions. He wants to know how the car runs, why we have to cut the grass, why fish like to eat worms, how ice cream is made, why his body parts function the way they do, and if he can please have a fourth refill on his Sprite. Although sometimes the never-ending questions can get a little annoying, they’re important. He’s learning. The only way to learn is to keep asking questions.
When we’re little, we’re good at asking questions, but at some point, we have a tendency to stop asking questions. Here’s the dangerous progression…
When you think you’ve arrived, you stop asking questions.
When you stop asking questions, you stop learning.
When you stop learning, you stop growing.
When you stop growing, you stop being able to lead.
Be on the lookout for that progression in your life. It’s the funeral march for your leadership. It signals that the end of leading is near.
Leaders are learners.
If you want to lead, you have to constantly learn. If you want to learn, you have to humbly admit you don’t have it all figured out, ask some questions, take some notes, and change some things.
If you want to cultivate a habit of learning, keep these things in mind:
- If you’re not reading, you shouldn’t be leading. There’s a wealth of knowledge contained in the pages of thousands of books. Dig for it.
- When you’re around people who are further down the road than you, stop giving answers and start asking questions.
- Visit other churches, eat lunch with other leaders, listen to podcasts, and do whatever is necessary to spark some new, creative ideas.
Leaders are note-takers.
Speaking of reading, I read a book earlier this year called Steal Like An Artist. The premise of the book is that there are endless opportunities to generate new, creative ideas based on the creative work of others. The author writes, “If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.” Artists are masters at theft…in a good way. Don’t try to become that church or pastor or leader, but watch them, study them, learn from them, takes notes, and implement any new ideas that fit who God has called you to be and who He has called you to reach.
That’s the premise of the ideas I share here. I’m trying to leave as many ideas out on my front porch for you to come by, pilfer through, and run off with!
Leaders are teachable.
Teachability is an attitude you have to cultivate because pride is an attitude you have to kill. Pride is the opponent of the humility you need in order to ask questions. Asking questions requires a humble attitude because it comes with the implication that you don’t have it all figured out. That’s not a bad thing. Own it, then get around some people who are further down the road than you and demonstrate your teachability by asking questions and taking notes.
It’s not too late to reverse the direction you are heading in. You don’t have it all figured out. Neither do I! That’s a good thing because we’re on an adventure. After all, walking by faith means stepping into the unknown. Thankfully, if you’re diligent about it, you can step into the unknown with some other great people heading in the same direction!
K E V I N • M I L L E R
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