The HARD Questions

09 Jun

Yes, there are ‘hard questions’ we prefer to avoid. In fact, if we are in a position of leadership, being asked these by ‘subordinates’ can illicit all types of emotions; anger, fear, even envy. It doesn’t matter whether we are ‘the lead’ pastor, CEO, or serve in any other leadership or management capacity. We just get uncomfortable with questions we prefer to avoid.

The elephant-in-the-room syndrome is often too prevalent and we would just as soon be in charge.

So, here are a couple you may be avoiding – certainly not an exhaustive list:

  • When was the last time someone in your organization was rewarded for raising difficult questions about the organization’s current policies rather than for just solving urgent problems?
  • When was the last time someone challenged your leadership and/or management decisions and was not regaled – either privately or publicly – for challenging ‘your authority?’

W. Edwards Deming, quality management guru, said (and I will take liberties and expand his quote), Our prevailing system of management (and leadership) has destroyed our people, largely by squashing their curiosity and joy of learning (and opportunity to actively engage in the processes of decision-making).

Is it time to foster a healthier dynamic within organizations that engage all members in the process of systems thinking? Or, are we retisent in our ways and only concerned with measuring compliance, outcomes, which can foster unhealthy competitiveness and distrust?

Please do not think I am pointing fingers here. I purposefully use the pronoun ‘we’ because I must include myself in this mix. I must ask myself how I respond when being challenged about my leadership approaches and decisions.

So . . . what would you suggest? How do you respond when confronted with questions that make you ‘uncomfortable?’


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