Leaders Answer the Questions No One Asks

My wife and I recently moved.

Until we sell our house, we’re renting an apartment in Greenville, S.C. To make room for everything after downsizing from the house to a two bedroom apartment, we didn’t bring the washer and dryer. The apartment complex has a nice laundry room that is just a short walk from our apartment building.

The first time I used the washers and dryers a few weeks ago, I had a difficult time getting it to accept my credit card payment. After googling the name of the machine, I finally figured out how to get it to take my card. Even then, though, it still didn’t work correctly.

A week or so later, I went back to wash some more clothes and just happened to run into one of the ladies that works in the apartment office. She saw me still struggling a little to get it to accept my payment and said, “Oh yeah, that can be tricky. You have to put the card in there upside down.” I started wondering, why don’t they have a sign or something? Why haven’t they worked with someone to get a machine that would be easier to figure out?

That brings me to my point…

Great leaders answer the questions no one has had a chance to ask.

As leaders, part of our calling is to help people do their jobs more effectively. In fact, that’s the call of all of us… to help others. As a leader, it’s up to me to go first and work the kinks out. It’s up to me to try to move ahead and see the problems that could arise before they do. It’s up to me to put processes and systems in place and execute those processes and systems before they’re actually needed.

People want to follow leaders that think and look ahead.

Isn’t that what vision is, after all? Isn’t it knowing where you want to go and trying to help people pave the path to it. We pave that path by asking ourselves questions and answering them before others since the frustration and have to.

So, if you’re leading something… a church, non profit, business, classroom, a family… anything.

Prepare.
Look forward before the people following you can get there.
Serve them and help them ease frustration before it comes.
Answer their questions… before they’re asked.

Don’t give the answer, “It’s kinda tricky.” Just fix the problem.

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