Two important leadership questions

A couple of years ago I was attending a workshop on excellence facilitated by Jay Matthews. Jay spent nearly 40 years as a counsellor and consultant with Ministry Development Centres, which are associated with the National Council of Churches in the USA. Over that period of time, Jay worked with thousands of protestant ministers and candidates for ministry as both they and their denominations discerned their gifts for church leadership. The process that they used was rigorous, involving a battery of tests to access psychological health, skills and gifts, and personality traits. Participants were required to spend several hours completing paper, and then later, online psychometric instruments. More hours were spent in consultation with a psychologist and with Jay.

Although the process revealed a great deal of information over the course of the evaluation, Jay said that he often discovered early in the process whether individuals possessed the two most important qualities for leadership. Those two qualities are:

1) That a person possesses the awareness that they have not learned everything they need to know. Knowing what you don’t know is as important as knowing what you do know. Being able to reach out for the expertise, experience and wisdom of others is a vital leadership quality. Realizing that wisdom is found in the group, and not in yourself as an individual multiplies the resources at a leader’s disposal. And of course, a leader who is open to learning becomes more capable and knowledgeable with every new experience and every learning opportunity.

2) That a person realizes that who they are as a person is more than who they are in their professional role. When a person understands that their vocational identity does not completely define who they are, they are then able to value and appreciate the importance of balancing their life, and being a whole person. They are able to nurture the relationships that give a well-rounded sense of purpose and meaning to their lives. And out of that sense of wholeness, and balance, they then are able to approach their professional role with integrity.

Next time you are searching for someone to fill a leadership role, these could be your two most important questions: Do you have a desire to learn? And is there more to you than this job?