Critical Questions

From the Global Leadership Summit:

5 Critical Challenge Questions for Leaders (Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church)

1. What is your current challenge level at work?

All people fall into one of the three categories above. The under challenged do not have enough interesting work to keep them engaged. They are not provided with enough work to do. The under challenged usually leave organizations for a more challenging position. The appropriately challenged usually have just the right amount of work and task to accomplish. However, they are not being stretched and are only maintaining, not creating. The dangerously over-challenged are working themselves to death, often at a high cost to themselves and those around them.

Most employees fall into the upper under challenged/lower appropriately challenged area (see yellow box). People's best work is accomplished when they are working/functioning in the lower third of the dangerously over-challenged level (see red box).

As leaders - are those who work under you being challenged enough? What can you do to bring them up (or down) to the appropriate challenge level?

As employees - what are you doing for yourself? It is your responsibility to get yourself to the appropriate challenge level. If under challenged, create something new, start an initiative, launch a new venture, etc. If over-challenged, get help.

2. What is your plan for dealing with challenging people?

The Line Exercise

As a leader, how long do you tolerate bad attitudes?

As a leader, how long do you tolerate poor performance?

As a leader, how do you tolerate a good/loyal/hardworking employee when the organization outgrows the employees capacity?

Your organization should have a plan, and the plan should be followed, in order to effectively deal with these challenging people.

3. Are you naming, facing, and resolving problems in the organization?

When issues and problems arise, are you identifying them as such, or are you calling them something else besides problems? Call the issue/problem what it is, do not try to run or hide from it, face the problem and resolve it.

4. When was the last time you re-examined the core of your organizations purpose?

Do you remember why you do the work you do? Do you know what your organization exists for?

List five things that your organization is about (without using terms associated with your industry). Working through this exercise, will help bring you back to the core purpose of your organization.

5. When was the last time your leadership bell was rung?

What was the last book you read, or conference that you attended, or interaction with other leaders that you had that made you see something new, or gain a new view of your leadership? If your leadership is lagging, perhaps it is time to seek out a "bell ringing" opportunity.