“Shoot First, Ask Questions Later”


Wrong way to lead.

Yet sometimes that’s what happens.

A leader feels that he or she needs to make a quick decision, clear up the ambiguity in the room, or simply look decisive and “do something.” Well, the old saying, “shoot first and ask questions later” describes the damage that can be done. Maybe not people dying but perhaps things can get in the way of our evangelistic task or things get in the way of developing and empowering others or a myriad of other less desired outcomes.

The wise way to lead is to lead by asking questions first.

Really? Yes. Not just any question, but vision related questions: How does this relate to our vision? (Maybe you’ll reveal that people don’t know the vision and now you can explain it! Then keep pressing until someone articulates exactly how or how it does or does not relate to the vision.) Then a follow up: How do we need to refine this so that it does? Or should we then even be doing this? (Leadership is about stewardship of resources.) How can this action advance our God given vision? How will this get in the way of our vision?

When a leader leads with questions related to the vision, it teaches members of the team to do the same when the leader is not around and it will therefore shape the current and future activities through the vision. The result will be greater focus, greater alignment, more impact and so on.

This may be counterintuitive to some but it is leading in a powerful way. It invites people to think, it affirms their capabilities, it brings them on board. It is far less threatening that them being told what to do all the time. It avoids dependency. It develops people. What’s not to like?
Lead with questions. Cast vision through questions.

Coaching Questions:
1. Do you ever shoot first and ask questions later in your leadership style?
2. What is your leadership tendency when there is ambiguity and confusion or disagreements as to actions to be taken?
3. What questions can you ask your team that will affirm, cast and align them around the vision?

The Vision Thing Part 5

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