“When will I ever use this in real life?”
Raise your hand if you ever uttered those infamous words, most commonly spoken in upper level math classes. We all have something intrinsically wired inside of us desiring to use what we learn. We may not always be able to verbalize the need, but it exists regardless.
In response to this hard wired desire, I started teaching students a simple framework of questions to help them think through a practical approach to leadership and influence. I reference it often here, even giving this framework it’s own page on the navigation bar (The Foundation), but I thought it might be time to write something fresh about the Three Questions.
The concept is simple: teach yourself (and those around you!) to ask and answer the following three questions, and watch your influence slowly begin to grow. As it becomes part of the language, you’ll begin to see a difference. So, without further delay, here you go:
When you walk into a room (or approach a situation), ask yourself the following three questions:
- What Needs To Be Done? (Awareness)
- What Can I Do? (Willingness)
- Who Can I Get To Help? (Leadership)
- A Bonus Question!
Today, let’s talk about the easiest of the three questions: What can I do?
After we identify needs in a room (or situation), we then ask what are we willing and capable of doing. While this is the easiest of the three questions, it’s no less important than the other two. Why? Because if we are unwilling to meet a need, it will be incredibly difficult to continually inspire and equip someone else to meet the need.
To answer the second question efficiently, discover your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at doing? Where do you struggle?
In John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership, he talks about there are generally two types of people – task oriented people and relationship oriented people. Neither is better than the other, because neglecting our weak side makes us that much weaker as a leader.
I’m very much a task oriented leader, so I naturally see tasks that need to be accomplished in a room. In order to grow and expand my leadership, however, I make myself look for relational opportunities in a room.
Here’s why: my willingness to meet a need will serve as an example to those around me, and it helps me learn the struggles of what I may ask someone else to do.
Ultimately, we cannot lead people where we have not gone. So if I’m unwilling to learn to meet needs, then it will be much more difficult for me to lead others to do the same.
Are you ready to take the next step in your leadership? Then step up and be willing to meet the need!
Check back next week for the continuation!
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