#303 Serving leaders ask themselves: “Who am I Becoming?”

June 23, 2021 

Serving leaders use questions to probe their own leadership journey and to encourage those who follow to do the same. The posture of asking questions helps keep serving leaders aware that they don’t have all the answers and that they are also on their own leadership journey. They ask “Who am I?” to establish their identity as we saw in the previous issue. Then they ask themselves, “Who am I becoming?” to assess their direction. They reflect on Paul’s words to the Corinthian believers, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV). Serving leaders desire to move in the direction of “ever-increasing glory” and stop to reflect on what this means for their own life and leadership.  

Serving leaders ask “Who am I becoming?“ to assess direction.    

Leaders are all moving on a journey, and set tangible goals to measure their progress towards success. They focus on the vision and outcomes with little thought about themselves as persons.  Leaders are moving, usually fast! But serving leaders slow down long enough to ask if they are moving in the right direction. They “are being transformed” and learn to ask themselves who they are becoming. They courageously ask themselves, “Am I becoming more loving? More generous? More compassionate? More sensitive? More truthful? Compared to a year ago, what changes do I see in my life?” These questions serve as signposts for the direction of the leaders’ journey and serving leaders ask themselves these questions to confirm they are moving in the right direction.  

Serving leaders ask “Who am I becoming?“ to assure focus.  Paul reminds us to “contemplate the Lord’s glory…” This is an issue of our focus. Serving leaders ask themselves about the focus of their journey. They are not afraid to ask, “Am I becoming a person more influenced by social media, professional journals, newspapers or Jesus? How does this impact my life and leadership? Am I increasingly turning my heart towards Him and seeking answers from Him about my leadership challenges?” Serving leaders ask hard questions to ensure that their focus is in the right direction.  

Serving leaders ask “Who am I becoming?“ to accelerate transformation.  Paul indicates that our transformation should be with “ever-increasing glory.” Serving leaders pause to reflect on who they are becoming so that their growth will be accelerated. They assess their direction and focus and where needed, make corrections and adjustments. By asking the question of themselves, serving leaders accelerate their own growth. Where needed they set personal growth goals which will be the focus of a future issue in this series.   

Serving leaders learn to ask themselves the question “Who am I becoming?” at least periodically. They set aside some time to think through their responses and often find it helpful to step aside from their normal routines for this reflective question. Put a date and time in your schedule that you will begin to ponder this question.  

For further reflection and discussion: 

  • As I look at my life in the past year, what changes have I made in who I am? Am I moving in the direction that I need to go? How would I finish this sentence, “Since last year I am becoming more …..? What would my spouse or a close friend say about who I am becoming?   
  • Where is my focus? To what sources do I look for inspiration, guidance, ideas and wisdom? Am I becoming a person more focused on Jesus or other sources? What does my calendar indicate about my focus? What changes do I need to make?     
  • How can my personal transformation be accelerated? Based on my answers to the previous questions, what changes do I need to make in my life? With whom do I need to share these things?  

Until next time, yours on the journey, 

Jon Byler 

In the next issue, we’ll examine the same question serving leaders ask of others, “Who are you becoming?”  

#302 Serving Leaders ask those who follow: “Who are you?”

June 9, 2021 

Serving leaders first ask themselves, “Who am I?” But then they take a look at those who follow them and ask a related question, “Who are you?” Serving leaders love those who follow and they desire for their followers the same that they desire for themselves. They invite their followers to also learn about their identity, their strengths and their weaknesses. They invite their followers to also consider Paul’s instruction: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12:3, NIV). Serving leaders help their followers to think of themselves with “sober judgement” by asking “Who are you?”  

Serving leaders ask “Who are you?“ to establish identity.  

Serving leaders do not identify their followers only by their role. They acknowledge that each person is unique with an identity beyond what they do. They seek to learn to know each person they lead deeply. They become students of those they lead. With a genuine desire to know they ask, “Who are you?” Beyond questions related to their work, serving leaders often ask questions like, “What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? When do you feel most fully alive?” Serving leaders also want their followers to understand themselves. They ask their followers “Who are you?” to encourage reflection on their own identity.   

Serving leaders ask “Who are you?“ to express strengths.  

Serving leaders recognize that each of their followers have unique gifts that God has given to them. They ask, “Who are you?” to identify those strengths. They are not afraid to ask, “What do you most love to do when you are here? What gives you the most energy? What more would you love to do?” Serving leaders are willing to invest time and energy to identify the greatest strengths of those they lead because they genuinely care about the person. When needed and when possible, they are willing to shift a person’s responsibilities to best fit their strengths.  They focus on the strengths of those they lead and seek to maximize the potential that they see in each person.    

Serving leaders ask “Who are you?“  to expose weaknesses.  

Serving leaders also ask, “Who are you?” to expose the weaknesses in those they lead. As they know for themselves, no one can be strong in every area. Serving leaders don’t expose weaknesses of others to demean or discourage. Instead, they help followers understand their own weaknesses to build a strong team. By recognizing an area of weakness, a follower will be willing to pass off a task to another person on the team gifted in that area. So, serving leaders ask their followers “What parts of your work are not life giving to you? Which elements of your job could be done better by another member of our team?” They listen carefully to the answers and serve by helping the follower to discover ways that others can complement their weaknesses.  

Serving leaders continue the journey of asking the right questions by asking those they serve, “Who are you?” 

For further reflection and discussion: 

  •  For these questions, choose one person you lead and answer the questions based on that person.  
  • On what does this person base their identity? Do I know them well enough that I understand who they are apart from the role they fulfill?  How can I help this person be more secure in their identity? 
  • What are their greatest strengths? How are these expressed in their role? Are there changes I should make to their responsibilities that would allow them to be more closely aligned with their strengths? What potential do I observe in this person and when can I communicate that to them? 
  • What are their greatest weaknesses? Have I explored these with the person in a way that does not diminish their strengths? Have I clearly helped them understand that these are opportunities for teamwork?  Are there any changes I should make in their responsibilities to minimize their weaknesses?   

Until next time, yours on the journey, 

Jon Byler 

In the next issue, we’ll examine another question serving leaders ask themselves: Who am I becoming?