by Major Marc Johnson
When we were children in school, we focused on having the right answers to questions. While it is important in education, it’s the wrong focus for good leadership. A commonly held leadership principle says great leaders don’t have all the right answers; instead, they know how to ask the right questions.
Perhaps you’re wondering, “So, what questions I should be asking as a leader?” Now, that’s a great question! The right questions stimulate others to think deeply, explore options and expand horizons. They also lead to good results.
I’m reminded of an experience I had while serving as a corps officer in Chile. I needed to get an ID card for our newly adopted daughter. At the courthouse, the desk where someone processed such matters was gone; instead, a long line of people stood in front of a closed door. I asked the security guard how to proceed, and he told me to get in line. After 45 minutes he called out a number, and the person in front of me yelled, “That’s me!” I had a problem because I didn’t have a number. I asked the guard why he didn’t tell me I needed to get a number, and he replied, “You didn’t ask the right question.” It was embarrassing for both of us.
Asking the right question as a spiritual leader is vital. Jesus often used questions to stimulate others to grow deeper in their spiritual walk with God or to challenge His accusers who had evil motives. For example, when Pharisees tried to trap Jesus by asking Him if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus responded, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God.” (Mark 12:16-17, NLT). The right question at the right time can be powerful.
Is God calling you to take on a leadership role in your corps but you’re afraid you won’t have the right answers? Take heart! Know that as you seek Him, God will lead you to the right conclusions.