Thursday, July 23, 2009

14 Questions Leaders Should Ask BEFORE Agreeing to Serve

These 14 questions leaders should ask before agreeing to serve could potentially save you and a lot of other people from an unsuccessful and less than satisfying experience.

I can't tell you how many times leaders and executives bring up the concern for coaching that too many meetings, committees and requests for help are drowning them.

There are literally millions of boards, committees,  special projects and all other manner of initiative in place and active right now in North America and across the globe. And much of what they are doing is worthwhile. But if the wrong people are tasked with doing worthwhile things, little good will be accomplished.

It's not that the wrong people are not good people. In many cases they are leaders who have accomplished much. They know how to get things done and have proven themselves. It's just that this particular task is not for them. They should never agree to be a part of it, no matter how worthwhile.

Other times, leaders have some personal work to do first. Matters in their own life require first priority before exporting their personal baggage, no matter how subtly, to others.

So, when faced with the call to serve, sometimes pleading with you to serve, take the time to do this exercise. No matter how good the cause, you just can't do everything, nor were you designed to do everything.

Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and write out the answers to the following questions. That way you will be very intentional in your thinking. Writing it out will capture your thoughts concisely. This will enable you to make a better decision and reflect on the answer you return.

1. What expectations are there of me in this position? From whom?

2. What are my three biggest assumptions about this task? Are they true?

3. Am I really committed to this cause and the people it represents?

4. Do I have confidence in the senior leadership and feel I can support them?

5. Can I make the time for this leadership responsibility without creating excessive stress?

6. Do I and my spouse agree about this decision?

7. Leadership issues take discernment. Am I a discerning person and can I improve that competency?

8. Do I have any hidden agenda that could sabotage meetings or others on my team?

9. Are there any continuing things in my life that if people knew about them would disqualify me from serving?

10. Are there relationships or situations I should clean up before serving in this responsible position?

11. Am I a good team player or do I generally want my own way?

12. How have I been prepared for this task? Experience, skills, interests?

13. What is being said to me about this decision? Faith, family, friends, mentors etc.?

14. To what degree am I willing to change so that I can make a more effective contribution?

Many of our clients have checked themselves against this list and vastly improved their decision-making in this area. The benefits? Reduced stress from meetings and being a part of something that your heart just really isn't in, no matter how good it is ...

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