The One Question Leaders Should Ask Every Day

Bullfrog
"If everything is urgent, then nothing is urgent." (Flickr)

Leaders do the right things, while managers do things right.

So how does a manager who aspires to leadership begin to learn the right thing? How does our team learn to do more of what is truly important and spend less time on things labeled "urgent." I'm instinctively suspicious of anything that comes to me marked urgent. What urgent usually means is that someone's poor planning has been elevated to emergency status.

The word urgent is so overused it almost means nothing. If everything is urgent, nothing is urgent.

As a leader works with her team throughout the day, it becomes easy to see "what matters most" to the leader. Our day planners and to-do lists say a lot about what we think is important.

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Teams should be taught to discern what is important. This is a matter of focus from leadership. A sense of priority is taught by demonstration and engagement. To be more specific, try asking your team this focusing question EVERY day:

"What is the most important thing you intend to do today?"

It might be wise to have a chair nearby when answers are given. Prepare to be shocked.

"Really? That's the most important thing in your day today? Don't you think getting (the thing that matters most) completed today is more important?

Learning the difference between wheat and chaff is easier when taught over time. Isolate what matters most and perhaps take time to teach WHY important things are important and why a priority focus is needed.

Imagine what would happen in your organization if you asked the "most important thing" question every day for the next year.

Would the right things be done more quickly?
Would fewer urgent matters develop?
Would your team learn to define important?

When our days consist of too much firefighting and too little intentional work—perhaps it's time to ask one powerful question.

"He then led them out and asked, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They said, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved.'" (Acts 16:30-31).

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.


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