Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Five Questions Every Leader Should Be Able to Answer

I came across this article this week that I thought would be helpful. The article below which I have abbreviated is written by Kevin East.  I have recently read a number of Kevin’s articles and really like what he has to say about leadership.  Kevin is the Executive Director of Ministries for Pine Cove, one of the premier Christian camps in the country.  Pine Cove has 8 independent summer camps in Texas, partnerships with other non-profits, and runs camps in other countries as well.  To see more posts on leadership by Kevin you can go to http://followingtolead.com

Five Questions Every Leader Should Be Able to Answer
By Kevin East

There are many good guys out there.  But being good can only bring you so far.  After that, precision is required.  It is the difference between being an amateur and a pro.  So what will bridge the divide?

I’ve sat across the table from many people looking to get a spot within our organization. Some were young, still in college.  Others were older, seasoned veterans who share the gray hair, wrinkles, and stories of failures and successes.  Whether young or old, I wanted to know if they had the answers to a few important questions.

In order to be an effective leader, you need to understand yourself and exactly what you bring to the table each and every day that you go to work.  Strong organizations have leaders that are comfortable being themselves.  They, in turn, help create environments where others can be comfortable “in their own skin” as well.

How well do you know yourself?  See if you could clearly write down on a piece of paper the answer to these 5 questions:

1. What are my spiritual gifts?
2. What are my top 3 strengths?
3. What are my top 3 weaknesses?
4. What motivates me?
5. What type of environment would allow me to thrive?

Too often, people bounce around from one job to another, never fully understanding what they are looking for.  They know they are unhappy, but don’t know why.  Their solution: Change.  Many times the change they get only presents a new set of problems.

Younger people aren’t too prideful to ask.  They can blame the fact they don’t know themselves that well on their youthfulness.  I’ve been on the receiving end of the question, “What do you think I’m good at?” many, many times.  Some that are older never want to come to grips with the fact they don’t have the slightest clue what these answers are to these questions.

Effective leaders are constantly learning and adapting.  They are studying the culture, their market segment, their competition, and taking note of any pertinent changes to them.  They are also a student of themselves, seeking to understand the necessary adaptations they need to make to better serve the people in their area of influence.

How can you know the answers?

I’ve found a couple of tests so helpful for uncovering these answers.  Over the years I have taken many different assessments such as the DiSC test, Map Profile, and even the animal personality test, and then spent hours pouring over what they found to see if I agreed.  They offer some good nuggets, but the best ones are very expensive.

Here are a couple relatively inexpensive ones that are good:

Uniquely You Inventory – I really like this test.  It costs $15, but does an assessment that combines spiritual gifts as well as the DiSC profile.  I think the results are very valuable.

Servants By Design – This one costs $35.  This assessment measures many different areas of the person.  Examples are: personality structure and strengths, motivators, abilities, settings, potential pitfalls and prime environments.  It is the longest tests like these that I have taken, but again, I think the outputs are very helpful.

I’d encourage you to get alone, take one of these, and then spend some time studying the results.  You’ll be glad you did.

Can you answer these 5 questions?  Why or why not?