Answering the hard questions forms leaders of life. Starting out on my international leadership journey so many years ago, being asked the hard questions threatened me. Why I did what I did, how I did what I did, how I treated my wife, the time I invested into my, how I administered money, these were all tough questions for me to answer with integrity.
My tendency was to react like Adam and hide behind a leaf of lies. (Adam and I may have been the only ones to do this.) The harder the question a leader is willing to answer with integrity, the softer that leaders’ heart can potentially be towards God.
Hard questions are hard, because they challenge character and reveal motives. Hard questions will either cause us to hide behind a leaf of lies or make us leaders the produce a true spirit of life with ourselves and those we are called to lead and influence. Hard questions threaten areas of darkness that so many people are afraid to deal with.
A great leadership principle to learn in life is to ask the right people to ask you the hard question in life. Many leaders are fearful of asking and answering the hard questions. Others are even more fearful of asking the right person to ask them the hard question.
Asking the right question means possibly dealing with a reality that you may not be willing to deal with, or hearing something within you that you do not want to hear or accept. The prophets of old asked the Northern and Southern kingdoms of Israel the heard questions, and for the most part, Israel was unwilling the answer with integrity, so they hid behind their leaves of lies.
Some hard questions to have others ask of you and even ask yourself are; Am I dealing correctly with a sinful behavior? Am I honestly growing daily in prayer and fellowship with Christ? Am I a faithful and integral financial administrator? Do I faithfully guard my eyes, my mind and my time? Does my physical temple glorify the One who called me? Is my spouse satisfied with me? Do I live free from offence from those who despitefully use me? There are so many others also.
By asking the right people to ask the hard questions, you challenge your present condition, to potentially improve your future position. By being asked the hard questions you can increase your personal integrity, improve your leadership effectiveness and stay in the realm of your divine gifting. Answering the hard questions with integrity can make you a leader of exceptional effectiveness and long term impact.
Who should ask you the hard questions? Those who have done or who are successfully doing something similar to what you are doing. Your calling is unique and your life is distinct. It should uniquely reflect and be distinctly marked as a life of exceptional Christ like character.
Dr. John C. Maxwell has never written a book like I have, well I have never written a book like him either. Before I ever wrote my first, John Maxwell was the first one I went to ask him to ask me the hard questions about writing. Over 40 books and 20 years later, His life and insight, as well as those in his leadership organizations have been a great support through the years.
When my wife and I were facing challenging times in our first church in Mexico City, we asked Pastors Billy Joe & Sharon Daugherty for direction on how to handle the pressures of a growing church. Knowing who to ask and when to ask requires a combination of humility and willingness to grow. Their valuable insight and council has been a constant source of strength to us.
Starting out on my international leadership venture in the 1990’s, I sat down with Wayne Myer, a missionary with over 70 years of experience. He asked me hard questions about my motives, vision and marriage. He gave me insight I could never had gained on my own.
The greatest and most impactful leaders are those who deal with their defects in order to grow in their effectiveness. They renounce the lies that hold them fast and they grow in the truth that frees them. Jesus has called you to be free from your past, come out from behind the leaves of lies, in order to experience the greatness of His life giving mercy and grace.