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Healthy Leaders Admit —They Don’t Know

The book of Job is a book of questions. Uncomfortable, hairy, galaxy-sized questions. I counted them all one time.

Depending on how you want to count the rhetorical questions in the book, Job and his friends pose about 90 questions.

Then finally God shows up. As a reader you think, finally, we are going to get some answers. However, God poses more questions. God asks 82 more questions and answers none of those hanging pregnantly over the preceeding 38 chapters.

But the thing is, without any questions answered Job walks away completely satisfied and at peace.

Job sought answers. What he needed was a fresh encounter with God. When God showed up Job discovered that he is the answer I need.

It’s the same for us. We think we can’t find peace without answers to the big hairy questions that stir in us. We think our job as leaders is to put people at ease by providing answers.

The truth is, there is a whale of a lot of things we just don’t know. When we admit that we gain trust. When we lack the courage to be honest our people know we are pretending.

Apply this principle to our current moment in time. Right now we don’t know when there will be a Covid vaccine. We don’t know how long face masks will be needed. We don’t know if or when our former ways of life as a church will be normal. We don’t know what the lasting impact of the Covid fears will be on people.

When everyone of our teammates and constituents are asking questions like these, healthy leaders will admit they don’t know the answers.

Healthy leaders understand that our hope is not found in circumstances we control or fully understand. Our hope is found in a person.

When we strive to provide all the answers, we draw attention and dependence on us. When we confess we don’t know, we draw people to the author and ruler of all life.

When we allow our people to seduce us into believing that our value comes from providing all the answers, we are responsible for our stress. And, by the way, we feed their immaturity.

In a counter-intuitive way, when we admit we don’t know the answers, we invite people to discover the place of deeper peace and rest.

So, what are the questions you feel stressed to have answers for?

Who are the people you fear handing over to the one who hung the stars and the sun?

What would happen if you let go of any pressure to be super human and admitted You don’t know?

[Congrats. You just read my 50th blog post.]

Photo Credit: my own. Sometimes a little coffee and a few moments of peaceful thought are just what the doctor ordered.


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