3 Things Everyone Wants to Know from a Leader

There are three things every person wants to know from a leader. If you can’t answer them, no one will follow you. If you can answer them all satisfactorily, they will follow you almost anywhere.

I once had a boss who related this to me about a fellow pastor. One of Bob’s (not his real name) people had told my boss, “I love Bob a lot. I love the way he does church. I love his vision. I love where he wants to go. I would follow him anywhere. But this vision is his, and I don’t want to do it.” Hmmm…. This is a classic case of someone not answering these three questions:

  1. The first thing is: Can we trust you? If you cannot be trusted, don’t even bother trying to answer the next two questions. If people don’t trust you, they will not follow you anywhere, anytime, anyhow. But if you can satisfactorily answer this question, they will easily move on to the next question.
  2. The second question is: Do you know where you are going? Once you have answered the trust question, then people want to know if you have a pretty good idea of where you want to go. If you are going to take them, they want to know where that is. Do you, as a leader, have a clear picture of where you want to go. If you do, if you can paint that picture for your people, then they will move on to the next question. If you can’t, they will never even ask it.
  3. That third question is: Can you get us there?  Ah! This is where the rubber meets the road. The first one asks about your character. The second one asks about direction. Getting to this last question says, we like you and your character. We want to go where you want to go. But this last question says, “Are you the person?” If you cannot show them that you have the capabilities to do it, then you have failed your followers.

My friend the fellow pastor in the story above had answered the first two questions, but he couldn’t get over the hurdle of the third. His people didn’t feel he had the capacity or capabilities to get the job done.

Answering these three questions should motivate you and stir you to find those answers soon, if you don’t already have them figured out. If God has gifted and called you to leadership, then you must continually come back to these questions and continue to answer them on a regular basis.

Otherwise, as John Maxwell says about leaders without followers: “You are just out for a walk.”