Questions I Ask Myself as a Leader (Part 2)

In part two of this series on asking questions, John shares questions five through ten that he asks himself to ensure that he is continually growing and adding value to others. You will learn the importance of getting in and staying in your strength zone as well as taking time to think as a leader.

For the application portion of the episode, Mark Cole and Traci Morrow discuss how these questions have helped shaped their own leadership and why getting in your strength zone is not something to wait for but to work towards.

Our BONUS resource for this episode is the “Questions I Ask Myself as a Leader Worksheet,” which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.


Mark Cole:       Hey everyone, Mark Cole here. I just want to take a quick second before we get started today to tell you how incredible our live Live2Lead event in Atlanta, Georgia is going to be. It is going to be spectacular. In fact, we have a speaker lineup that includes Jamie Kern Lima, Jeff Henderson, Valorie Burton, Ed Mylett, Joel Manby, and of course, the one and only John C. Maxwell. You're not going to want to miss this one. So be sure to head over to for more info and to secure your tickets. Again, that's L, the number two

Hey, welcome back to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. My name is Mark Cole, we are glad to have you today join us for part two of Questions I Ask Myself As a Leader. Now, John Maxwell has recently taught a lesson that really gave 10 questions he asks himself as a leader. And here's what I love about John. 74 years young, and I do mean young. 74 years young, and he is still challenging himself daily with questions that he asks himself to better himself. And so we thought that we would bring this to you in a two part series and let you to determine questions you need to be asking yourself as a leader. So, today, Traci Morrow will be joining me and we're going to listen to John, then we're going to break it down, have some personal reflection as well as some business leadership reflection that we hope adds value to you.

Now, I hope you have subscribed to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. Your subscription helps us know that we are consistently adding value to you. So, I hope not only you will subscribe, but you will pass that along to someone else. Now, today I'm going to challenge you, download the show notes. We have some show notes provided to you, you can go to, download the fill in the blank worksheet, grab a pen, grab some additional paper because John is going to challenge you today in the questions he ask himself as a leader. Now, here is John.

John Maxwell:  Question number five that I ask myself as a leader. Am I staying in my strength zone? Am I staying in my strength zone? This is an effectiveness question. I am only going to be effective if I stay in my strength zone. Samuel Johnson said almost every man wastes part of his life and attempts to display qualities which he does not possess. I have found that to be true. Let me give you the most important advice that I can give you about your skills. Stop working on your weaknesses, start working on your strengths. That's the best advice I can give anybody in this room today. Stop working on your weaknesses and start working on your strengths. Wow! So, stop working on your weaknesses in the area of skills. Just stop working on it. I'm freeing you up. Just work on your strengths. Jim Sundberg said, discover your uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it. Question number six that I ask myself as a leader. Am I taking others to a higher level? This is a mission question.

General Schwarzkopf said. I love this quote. When you help others climb a hill, you will get closer to the top yourself. If you're helping others climb the hill, you're going to get closer to the top yourself. My good friend Zig Ziglar, I can remember well in 1975, listening to him speak and hearing him say for the first time now I've heard him say this hundreds of times since. Zig Ziglar said, "You can get everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Let me reword that statement. What Zig is really saying is if you will just help enough other people get what they want, you can get everything in life that you're going to want. What's he saying? He's saying put others first. My success, your success, our success is determined by the seeds I sow not by the harvest I reap. By the seeds I sow, not by the harvest I reap.

Too many times we're going around saying, "What can I receive for myself? What can I reap from for myself?" Don't worry about that, just sow seeds, sow seed, sow seeds, the return will come to you soon enough. Question number seven that I ask myself as a leader. Am I taking care of today? This is a success question. Am I taking care of today? In my book Today Matters, the secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. Brian Tracy said this. He says, "Perhaps the very best question you can memorize and repeat over and over is what is the most valuable use of my time right now?" Successful people take care of today. My friend Dale Witherington, wrote a wonderful prose called The Life Builders Creed. I want to read it to you.

"Today is the most important day of my life, yesterday with its successes and victories, struggles and failures has gone forever. The past is past, done, finished. I cannot relive it, I cannot go back and change it, but I will learn from it and improve my today. Today, this moment now, it is God's gift to me and it is all that I have. Tomorrow with all of its joys and sorrows, triumphs and troubles isn't here yet. Indeed, tomorrow may never come. Therefore, I will not worry about tomorrow, today is what God has entrusted to me. It's all that I have. I will do my best in it, I will demonstrate the best of me in it, my character, giftedness, abilities, to my family and my friends, clients and associates. I will identify those things that are most important to do today. And those things I will do until they are done.

And when this day is done, I will look back with satisfaction at that which I have accomplished, then and only then, will I plan my tomorrow looking to improve upon today with God's help, then I shall go to sleep in peace, content." Let me say this, people as they spend each day are either repairing or preparing. They're either fixing today because they did something wrong yesterday, or they are preparing for tomorrow because they are doing something right today. Question number eight that I need to ask myself as a leader. Am I taking time to think? This is a leadership question. Am I taking time to think? The number one failure of leaders is they don't reserve enough thinking time. Leaders are paid to and expected to see the future, to understand the present. That can only be result of thinking time.

So, I put in your notes the little equation, minute being greater than the hour. Basically that says, a minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk. Or Ted Williams who said if you don't think too good, don't think too much. Every leader needs to ask himself or herself this question, am I taking time to think? Question number nine that I need to ask myself as a leader. Am I developing leaders? This is a legacy question. This is a question that I must ask concerning my legacy. In the beginning of this lesson today, I said to you that the first question you should ask yourself as a leader is am I investing in myself? Now, when I come to am developing leaders? The question you ought to ask yourself, is am I investing in others? In your notes, one of the most significant contributors to business failure is the inability to get things done through other people. That's true. In hospital emergency rooms, nurses have a saying, watch one, do one, teach one.

This refers to the fast pace of the profession, and the need to learn quickly then jump right in to practice what you've learned on a real-life patient. And then to pass it on just as quickly to someone else. Notice, that learning is only the first one third of the job. The real key is putting that learning into practice. And it applies to any profession or business. You can't just read about how to change a tire, ride a bike, ride a contract, start a business or perform open heart surgery, you need to perform the skill to perfect the skill. So what I teach is the five step equipping process. When you're asking the question, am I developing leaders? What you're really saying is, am I practicing the five step equipping process? Here's the five steps.

Step number one, I do it. Step number two, I do it and you are with me. Step number one, I do it, step number two, I do it and you are with me. In other words, I'm going to model for you the behavior that I want you to have. Step number three, you do it, and I am with you. After I show you how to do something for a period of time, I'm going to turn the tables and I'm going to let you do it, but I'm going to go with you, and I'm going to watch you to see if you're doing it correctly. So, step one, I do it, step two, I do it and you're with me, step three, you do it and I'm with you, step four, you do it.

Now, most people when they get to step four, they feel that they've equipped somebody, they say, "Okay, I've done it, I've equipped people, this is a very good thing." But you haven't equipped people until you go to step number five. Step five, you do it and someone is with you. Now, let's look at the five step equipping process. Step one, I do it, step two, I do it and you're with me. Step three, you do it and I'm with you. Step four, you do it and step five, you do it and someone is with you. In your notes, Lauren Wolfe said, the ultimate test for a leader is not whether he or she makes smart decisions or takes decisive action, but whether he or she teaches others to be leaders and builds an organization that can sustain its success, even when he or she is not around. True leaders put ego aside and strive to create successors who go beyond them.

And the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, it's the law of legacy. The law of legacy says there is no success without a successor. Question number 10. Now, question number 10 is personal so I won't stay here long. It's one that I have to ask myself and so because I have to ask myself the question, I pass it on to you. I'm not saying that this should be your question, but it is mine. Question number 10 for me as a leader is, am I pleasing God? This is an eternity question. Only one life it'll soon be passed and only what's done for God will last. Now let's do a review quickly. Questions I ask myself as a leader, I have 10. By the way, I would stop here long enough to encourage you maybe these won't be your 10. Look at these, adopt the ones that really fit you, maybe you need to add two or three that I don't have at all. Am I investing in myself? Is question number one. This is a personal growth question.

Number two, am I genuinely interested in others? This is a motive question. Number three, am I doing what I love and loving what I do? This is a passion question. Number four, am I investing my time with the right people? This is a relationship question. Number five, am I staying in my strength zone? This is an effectiveness question. Number six, am I taking others to a higher level? This is a mission question. Number seven, am I taking care of today? This is a success question. Number eight, am I taking time to think? This is a leadership question. Number nine, am I developing leaders? This is a legacy question. And number 10, am I pleasing God? This is an eternity question. 10 questions I ask myself as a leader. You try it and see if it doesn't help you to become a leader also.

Mark Cole:       So, welcome back, Traci, as always love having you in the studio with me and Jake, even if it's by Zoom. And I'm glad today to be here with you to continue the discussion on questions leaders should ask of themselves. Glad to have you.

Traci Morrow:  Good to be here. Have you been asking yourselves friends on podcast world, have you been asking those first four questions? Have you specifically last week? If you didn't get a chance to listen, go back and listen after you listen to this, because they don't have to be in order necessarily. But have you thought about it, are you investing in yourself? Because that's a big one. And Mark and I dove in a little bit and talked about how we invested in ourselves. But today, we've got six points to cover. And the first one that he said stood out to me because he said, I my staying in my strength zone? And that it's an effectiveness question. And I don't know how many of you are listening to this and thinking, "I am definitely in a career or a job or a position that is not my strength zone and it brings..."

If you've ever been in that place, and I can relate to it, you feel a little panicky. It feels like, "What do I do? Especially if you're in your 30s, or your 40s, or even in your 50s and you're in a spot that you are not in your strength zone. And you're asking yourself, "What now? I feel like I'm in my weaknesses." Mark, have you ever been in a position where you were out of your strength zone? Where you had to make a decision to go a different way? That scary decision to go a different way?

Mark Cole:       Yeah. I tell the story, I'm going to call my strength zone a leading or an influencing of people. I think that's a strength of mine. I have celebrated that a lot of time. So, I'm not egotistically saying that I'm allowing others to say that and I'm repeating them now. I feel like I have a lot more to go. But there was a season in my life, if you've listened to many of our podcasts, there was a season in my life around 30, that I swore off leadership, "I'm done with it, I'm not doing it anymore, I'm not doing it." And understand strength zones are very difficult. I, listening to the podcast even today went, "Well, when I get done with the podcast today, I've got to go do X, Y and Z that is not my strength zones." But the question is sometimes, not are you in your strength zone, but are you bringing your strength to your current zone?

Not Are you in your strength zone, but are you bringing your strengths to your current zone? Because so many times our assignment, we tried to make our assignment about our strengths rather than our strengths to improve our assignment.

Traci Morrow:  Ah, so good.

Mark Cole:       And so, let's go back then to your question that says, I'm sitting here in a three-and-a-half-year period of my life saying I never will lead again, I don't want to lead, I disqualified myself from ever leading, I don't want a position. I don't want it, I don't want it, I don't want it. And the whole time I'm back there teleselling, getting people to come to John Maxwell events and influencing people to come to my events and having some of the most well attended events that John had ever had, under my sales leadership. Okay? I'm not leading, but I'm leading, but I'm calling it not leading so that I'm not recognizing my strength zones. For three and a half years, I turned down over four attempts to promote me to a leader responsible for other people. And I said, "No, no, no." So now get the picture, I'm out of my strength zones because I knew at five years of age, I needed to be influencing people. I'm out of my strength zone.

And I'll never forget that people asked me all the time, "How did you get noticed to be a leader for the John Maxwell company?" And I had turned down some promotions before that. So I don't want to overplay this, but we had a softball team and we were terrible. We were in last place two years rolling, losing all kinds of games. And they asked me to coach it, and four games into my third season of playing for them, I started coaching that team and turned it around, we finished first that year and the subsequent six years that I coached after that. I am convinced that it was on that softball team because two weeks after I was leading our softball team, I was asked to take another promotion at the John Maxwell company, it was called INJOY back then. And I took it. Now here's my point, I got in my strength zone of influencing environments to bring out the best of people. That's my strength zone. That's my calling, by the way as well.

So, what I want to say here is that's where I was out of my strength zones because I swore off that responsibility, but you can't swear off your calling and your strength zones, you're good at it. But so many of us wait for the environment to be right before we get into our strengths rather than making the environment right by utilizing our strengths. And that key point Traci, is what we need to key and right here, because staying in my strength zone, don't focus on the zone, focus on the strength. And when you focus on the strength, the zone changes always, because you're in your strength.

Traci Morrow:  So, good. So, good. And that leads right into... I think you found a way to be in your strengths when you were telemarketing and selling events. But when they elevated, or tried to elevate you, it felt too much about yourself. What I love is that that goes right into the next one, the question John asks is, am I taking others to a higher level? What really pulled you into the leadership position and being willing and open to go there is because you took other people, it wasn't about Mark Cole being elevated, it was about oddly enough on a softball or baseball team, you coaching others to become better, just brought you naturally into a leadership position.

So, it wasn't like, "Oh, I just got the new title." "It was, "Oh, I'm helping people, I am leading people," which opens your mind to go there. So, if you're somebody who again, the analogy is kind of great with sports, and we talked a little bit about it. I feel like there's so many things and models that were taught and that we're in as kids that we have to unlearn in real life. And this is another one of them. Because in sports, it's about competition. And that's fun, it's be the winner, rise to the top, become the best at whatever you're doing. So, when you get into a business, or a community or a ministry, or even a family situation, you're trying to win, and be the better one, and that's not actually leadership.

So you kind of have to unlearn that. So, as... Obviously, you're a competitor, because you turned the sports team around for the company. So what did you do as far as unlearning competition and learning to collaborate, and instead, take away that part of wanting to be the best, and instead bringing out the best in your people?

Mark Cole:       They had... Taking people to a higher level, let's stay with the softball analogy. They had built the lineup for those of you that don't play softball, that means the batting order. The positions people played on the field, and the order that they batted in the lineup, the number. And they had organized that based off of either popularity or position, the most popular people to the former coach, or the people that had a position at the day job kind of got the position in the field they wanted because of their position during the day of writing checks, paying the payroll or batting position, because they saw themselves as better than they were. And so as soon as they asked me to take it, and of course the president at the time, which was four reports up from me was on the field and playing a position that he should not be playing and batting in a position that he should not be batting.

And so, when I took the job, I said, "Let me ask you this, when I get on the field, does your status at work control me, or am I able to control you on the field?" And I asked every one of them. They said, "No, it's your field, you do what you want to." So, I said, "Okay." So for two weeks I said, "I won't make a change, but you guys on week number three, I'm going to bring your batting percentages and your fielding percentages, and I'm going to bring them and I'm going to show you and we're going to bat and field based on lack of errors and based on hits over the next two weeks." And everybody thought, "Man, that's brave, we got a leader. This is awesome." Until week three when the president started betting 10th and went to catcher because he was making errors at second base, and he never got to hit batting and forth.

And I will never forget when he looked at that, and he turned around and went, "Do you not know who I am?" I went, "Are you talking about out here or in the morning? Because in the morning, you're my boss, you're the president. But out here, I'm your boss, you're batting 10th." I will never forget it, Traci. Let me tell you this. I watched them begin to improve their stats because we started monitoring stats, and every one of them including the then leader of the company, began to perform much better because we built a system that had taken people to a higher level of performance. That needs to happen in businesses as well.

Traci Morrow:  Absolutely, because that is point seven, the question that he asks, am I taking care of today? You had to take care of today in order to turn those numbers around. And so in order to have success because he said that's a success question. So, I love how that analogy kind of covered over points six and seven, but eight is a real... I would love to jump to eight the, am I taking time to think? The leadership question. And again, I feel like leadership we tend to think of as activity and movement and doing things and getting up early and going to bed late and filling your day with all this time and sometimes I had to really learn. I love when John teaches stuff like this because it gives me permission. Sometimes I need to just sit in quiet and think through my thoughts. I remember one time we were at an event, I think it was the International Maxwell Certification. And John said, "What did you think about it?" He asked me a certain question about it, what I thought of something.

And I said... In my head, I thought, "This is John Maxwell. He's asking you a question about something he just taught on and wanting me to give him feedback on something of how it affected me." But I honestly didn't have an answer right then because I needed to think. It was such a big idea, and in order to really have it make sense in my brain, I ended up saying to John, "Honestly, I just need some time alone with my thoughts to process it through because I don't have it well enough that I could tell it to you. It's in my head, I just can't tell it to you." And so, I feel like being still, being quiet is something I really love and enjoy. But I feel like it starts to make me feel like I'm wasting time or I could be doing other things during that time. Do you struggle with that or are you good in quiet?

Mark Cole:       No, I'm not good in quiet. I've gotten better in quiet because I've now started seeing the value and the incredible up level of ideation because of solitude, because of quiet. I'm an extrovert, however on a Myers-Brigg I'm borderline extrovert and introvert. I really refuel introverted, but I really get great joy and fulfillment through extroverted activities. But I will always anymore, maybe this is an age thing, maybe it's a maturity thing. Maybe it's a responsibility thing, I always get more when I slow down and quiet everything out and just pay attention. Or just really get caught into pay attention. I guess where I was going is, pay attention to what out there needs attention, but also making sure that we slow down and say, "What am I missing?" Because so much is lost in the doing that is captured back in the thinking. I gotta tell you a funny story, Traci, for you and Jake.

You'll appreciate this because right after we were listening to John today, and we were kind of getting our thoughts together, we finished up John and I said "Gang." I said, "I need two minutes because I got to get John Maxwell, who has been in the office this year and Juan Vereecken and one of the people that really helps us in the Spanish community, with all things John Maxwell, we've been looking at a KPI this week of how much impact we're having in seconds. And so back to thinking of time to think, you'll notice in your notes, podcast listeners, if you downloaded the show notes, which I always recommend, that John has a little illustration in there, minute to hour, a minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk.

And we've got this really key metric that those of you that know John, you know that once he gets a piece of information, whether it's secret, whether it's not supposed to be told, or whether it's something that's powerful, John's going to magnify it with that deep baritone voice, and he's going to get it out there. So we have this KPI that we're looking at this performance mechanism that we're looking at, and we had measured it this week in seconds. And we begin to tell our story by performance based on seconds. And it was right here in this session, listening to John about minutes to hours, a minute of thought is greater than an hour of talk, that I'm sitting here thinking. And I went, "Whoa, whoa, wait." To get seconds, this is what we did podcast listeners, we multiplied 60 times 24 times 30 to get the number of seconds in a month. How many know I just missed a 60 right there? You got to go 60 times 60 times 24 times 30 to get the seconds.

And right in the middle of this thinking, am I taking time to think, Traci, I thought something and immediately went into action. Now that was funny. We had a good time, John laughed, we all made fun of ourselves. And then I hung up and now we're in studio. Here's my point. I felt like I needed to act pretty quick at the end of that thinking to get John, the megaphone of John Maxwell not to give a very wrong statistic to the world because I know how quickly he celebrates things and communicates things. But most of our thinking should not be preceded by action so quickly because the thinking needs to be what John Maxwell calls layered thinking. Means I think a good thought today, and if a thought is good today it'll be better tomorrow. Most of us think we have to execute on thoughts like we execute on opportunity. There's a big difference. Your thinking is not always opportunity.

But thinking layered, meaning you think about it, and 24 hours later you come back to that thought, if it's still a good thought, you will be able to up level it after 24 hours of thought. Don't miss what John is saying right here. And Traci, what you underscored, we need to take time to think and to layer our thinking with processing before we activate so quickly, And most of us leaders don't do that properly.

Traci Morrow:  And having a way to capture our thoughts. John talks about... There're so many times when we're with John, and he will just get onto his phone and he's not scrolling Instagram, he is capturing a thought. A thought has come to him, he writes it down, and he wants to later play with it, massage it, spend some time with that thought. And so, one of the things that he said is, "If I don't write it down when I think about it, it vaporizes, it's gone." And so, I love that it's a timing thing, it's also finding a way to space, creating the space to think and then finding a way to capture what it is that you're thinking so that you can spend more time with it the next time you're in quiet. So, then he talks about the five-step process of developing leaders, which is really... Honestly, I believe it's connected to point number six, am I taking others to a higher level?

So, if you aren't used to or if it is not coming naturally for you to develop other leaders, this five-step equipping process is very simple and easy way of being able to release other people not just to release them to do it and delegate it away, but to actually equip them. There's a difference I believe, between delegating and equipping somebody. Delegating is just counting the job off so you don't have to do it, equipping somebody is sending them off educated and having the experience of having seen you do it and done it with them. And so was that... Were you somebody who holds all the control pieces, or are you somebody who's good at equipping and delegating, or equipping and sending them off with the tools and the experiences with you? This is a hard one for me, I'll be really honest, I like to do things, I'm an eight on the Enneagram, I like to do things, I like the way I do things.

But when I delegate things, I don't always slow myself down to go through the five step equipping process, which means they don't maybe do it as well as I would have done it because I didn't do it with them, have them watch me do, have them do it with me, and have them do it while I'm with them. I didn't go through the process. And then it's like, it just confirms my Enneagram eight mind. "Well, I shouldn't have delegated that, I should have just done it myself." And that's the wrong way of thinking. And I really have learned how to do this five step equipping process, still work in progress. But what about you?

Mark Cole:       Well, so for years, 10 years to be exact, I have been carrying... John would get an idea, John would want to head a different direction or go a more clarified direction, and I was the single source to get the vision into implementation in our organization. Well, as we are scaling, and as we are engaging more streams of influence and more personalities that help us with those streams of influence, we realized that I will be a bottleneck if I continue to be the source of direction and the, I guess the leader of implementation. So, I'm now in the process of equipping or empowering people like you're asking. And no, I don't typically nor naturally do it well, what I am proud of that we're doing this year, is I took... I'm meeting every one of my direct reports every other week this year.

For the first two quarters, I would not let them bring an agenda, I would bring my opinion of what their agenda should be based on what I'm asking them to implement. And so for six months, I would bring the agenda and I would give them context on why I think this is the decision I would make. Once I gave them that context, once I told them what was important to me, I would then say, "What do you think? Now go do it." Because it is their area of responsibility. But I wanted them to have six months of observing me on how I viewed the important things in their area, and what I thought would be a contextual way to deal with that thing. And then after I gave him that context, as usual, I'd let them go implement. Just this quarter, so we're now in Q3, I'm now asking them to bring their agenda to me with their opinion of how they will solve the problem or address the issue.

And then I give them a little bit of thought, and then off they go. By Q4, we will be having conversations not about any of that, we'll be having conversations about vision, and how the vision of the future implements into what they're doing right now. So, that is a little bit of I do it, you watch, you do it, I am with you. And by the way in Q4, they will have their closest direct report to be in the meetings with us so that we can do this fifth point, which is you do it and someone else's with you.

Traci Morrow:  And so, do you tell them that that's what you're doing? Like in that first six months, did you say, "This is the way it's going to go?" So, because I can't help but think our listeners are going to be applying this, and I think this is an important clarity step, so that they understand that you aren't just giving them a voice like, " Oh, I can't even..." Because I've sat in meetings before with other leaders, and they bring their agenda, but there was never the transition that I got to bring my agenda then and hear that leaders view of my role, and then having that leader want me to bring my pieces to the table. So, I'm curious, I think it's important that we clarify this for leaders who haven't done this before in our podcast audience who want to implement that. Do you start by telling them, "This is what I want you to do, and then this is the next step."

Mark Cole:       So, I did not in the Q1, I did not tell them what step two would be and when it would be. I waited until it was time. So, I didn't say, "Hey, in Q3, I'm going to start asking you to bring the agenda, and then you give me the context." I didn't do that. Because I think that would have freaked them out. Plus, it would have missed the point. They'd been so worried about doing it like Mark, that they would not have brought their opinion to it. So, I think so many times we as leaders, leadership is about disappointing people at the rate they can stand. Right? We've talked a lot about that quote from [inaudible 00:37:25]. So, I think we need to understand as we're empowering, leadership is an art. Don't forget that. Leadership is an art. And what I mean by that is, don't try to put protocol and structure around leadership, let timing and the art of intuition come into play.

So, I couldn't have told you at the beginning of the year, it was going to be Q3 three, I just knew we would know when it was time for the team to start observing. But they absolutely knew at the beginning of each step, why that was the step and what I was expecting from the step, and how that played into John's equipping strategy.

Traci Morrow:  Okay, that's good to know. So, not read each situation, maybe the next one you would say, "This is what we're going to do, and I want you to just kind of watch what I value and what's important to me in this season." And then sometimes it's important not to. So I guess, as a leader, we're listening to Mark, share what he did with his team. I'm sure there are other examples where you told them, "First of all, I want you to just kind of hear my heart and where I'm going with this before we go to the next step." Would that be fair to say?

Mark Cole:       It would. Just a little point of clarification. So, at the beginning of every step, they know where I am in the equipping process.

Traci Morrow:  Okay.

Mark Cole:       I just don't give them the timing of the next step because that's the intuitive, artsy part of leadership. It's about timing. So, when I started saying, "I'm bringing the agenda, because for years, they brought the agenda and we work through their agenda." But I wanted to bring the agenda for six months, or for a time and show them what I felt like they should be focused on in their area of responsibility, and give them context on how I would address what I felt like was the priority. And they knew that at the very beginning. Just two weeks ago, a few weeks ago now, I met them and said, "Okay, we're shifting the way this works. From now on, you're bringing me the agenda, and you're giving me the context, because we're now in the art you do it and I am with you phase of John's equipping process."

Traci Morrow:  Oh, I'm glad we clarified that. And I love the way that you called leadership an art, because I think sometimes we think it's linear. And what we've learned in 2020, if nothing else is, that there's a lot of pivoting. There's a lot of twists and turns and jagged edges of leadership that does look like a piece of art at the end. So, I love that you use that phrase, that it's an artwork that it's a piece of art. Okay, so last one, and we'll close out, did you want to touch on anything about your views, it is a faith-based point in question that he asks himself, an eternity question? He says, "Am I pleasing to God?" As we close out, is there anything that is personal to you about that question?

Mark Cole:       Yeah. And there really is. And it's just like John says, we've got so many podcast listeners from around the world. I have this foundation that my parents gave me of a real faith perspective, believing that there's much more to me than my lifespan will contribute. John has that many of you that listen have that. What I love about that, and I will close us down with this point, but what I love about that, is that it always gives me something bigger than me to drive me, it's always about something that I'm in greater accountability or responsibility to. And that faith, eternal life beyond my own lifespan that my influence is going to continue through my kids, through others forever, that impact has really given me a great filter of when I ask questions, or when I sense significance or meaning. It's always with this perspective that this is bigger than me and longer than me, and more impacting than me, and it is about much more than me.

And I would just challenge all of you just get a filter that it is bigger than you. Because to be honest with you, the world is made up of others, except for one trivial exception. That's you. That's me. And so, get that perspective that it is beyond you. I hope, Traci, I know you and I have enjoyed. But I hope you, podcast listeners, I hope you've enjoyed it, I hope you have taken something from these 10 questions. I hope there's more than just one or two that you're asking. But truly, it is a discipline like we said last week in part one. I hope it's a discipline that you begin to create within you that says, "I want to ask questions of myself so I can become a better leader."

We trust we've added value to you this week. We look forward to coming back next week with a whole new lesson from John. I'm very excited about it. Until we see you next week, go to, give us comments wherever you listen to this podcast. Whatever player you use, give us a rating, give us a comment. Let us know how we're going and always multiply value to others.

2 thoughts on “Questions I Ask Myself as a Leader (Part 2)”

  1. Thank you for the comment that leadership is an art. The great mystery is when does an individual realize they are a leader and those around them respond to their leadership as not an ego trip but a use of an art that has been developing.

    1. When you find out let me know, passion can sometimes be confused with ego and that not how we would want it to be.

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