The Most Important Question a Leader Can Ask

This is a guest post by my friend, John C. Maxwell. He is a New York Times bestselling author, and his newest, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, releases today. I enthusiastically recommend it.

Michael and I have been friends for well over a decade. When we met, he was already a good leader. But over the years I’ve watched him grow and become an even better one.

The Most Important Question a Leader Can Ask

Photo courtesy of

And one of the things I love about Michael is that whatever he’s learning, he’s continually passing along to you.

If you’re like most of Michael’s readers, you want to become a better leader. You want to grow. You want to be more productive. You want to develop your platform. In short, you want to increase your influence. But I have a question for you. Why?

The 4 Revolutionary Leadership Tactics of Paul Revere

This is a guest post by Joel J. Miller. Formerly a vice president at Thomas Nelson, he is the author of the fascinating Independence-era biography, The Revolutionary Paul Revere. You can find him on Twitter or his blog.

When we think of leaders from America’s revolutionary era, our minds jump to military commanders like George Washington, political organizers like Samuel Adams, and rousing orators like Patrick Henry. In the hierarchy of the Revolution, these men stand atop the loftiest rungs. For good reason.

The Revolutionary Paul Revere

These men accomplished amazing feats against incredible odds. But they could not have done it alone. Like executives in a successful company, they required the service and sacrifice of others to achieve their goals. They required effective lieutenants—people like Paul Revere.

#099: Are You Investing Your Best Resources in the Wrong People? [Podcast]

As a leader, are you investing your best resources in the wrong people? It is easy to see other people making this mistake. It is more difficult to catch yourself doing it.


I’ve been guilty plenty of times. Leaders often make this same mistake in various areas of their lives, but what can you do if you are in this situation?

Click to Listen

How to Live a Life That Matters: 5 Lessons from Maya Angelou

The desire to create lasting transformation in the world is what really drives us as leaders, right? Since the news of her death, I’ve been thinking a lot about Maya Angelou. Her legacy offers several valuable insights for living a life of true significance.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou speaking at Burns Library, Boston College. Creative Commons.

The odds were against Angelou in her early years. Her parents divorced when she was three, and she spent several years under the care of her grandparents.

#096: What Leaders Need Even More Than the Right Answers [Podcast]

When I started out in my career, the key to success was having the right answers. Those who advanced in their careers the quickest were seemingly the ones who had the most answers.


While this is definitely important in some situations—especially when responding to the people you are accountable to—it is not the key to success as a leader. There is something even more important than having the right answers.

Click to Listen

#091: If You Want to be Successful, Stop Being So Accessible [Podcast]

Are you fielding more requests for your time than you have hours in the day? If so, you’re not alone. The more successful you become as a leader, the more other people will demand of your time. And that’s where the trouble begins.


If you are going to maintain margin for your most important priorities, you have to make some tough decisions about your accessibility. The more successful you are, the less accessible you must become. I wish it were different, but this is just one of the harsh realities of leadership.

Click to Listen

#082: How to Keep Your Team Aligned During Times of Intense Change [Podcast]

The key to keeping your team aligned in the midst of change or chaos is communication. Unfortunately, most leaders are not intentional about this. They either don’t communicate or don’t have a plan for rolling their message out. The result is that people are left to create their own narrative about what is happening.

image courtesy of & Corepics VOF

If you are going to be an effective leader, you must be deliberate in keeping your team informed. If you don’t, you will create a tremendous amount of “sideways energy” as people speculate and come to the wrong conclusion.

Click to Listen

#077: How to Find a Mentor to Take You Further, Faster [Podcast]

Recently, I recorded a podcast interview with Alex Barker at the Leadership Dojo. He asked me, “So how do young leaders find mentors?” It’s a question I get at least once a week.


image courtesy of Oleg

To be brutally honest, your chances of finding a mentor are slim and none. The problem is your definition of mentorship. It’s too narrow.

Click to Listen

#074: How to Frustrate Those You Lead (Are You Making These 13 Mistakes?) [Podcast]

Education comes in surprising ways. Sometimes, we think we could learn best if we had a better boss. But sometimes we learn the most from the bad ones.

Frustrated Employee

The great thing about these bosses is that they taught me what not to do, which is just as important as what to do—it’s just more painful.

Click to Listen

#073: Advice to New CEOs (or Those Who Want to Be) [Podcast]

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been more than two years since I left Thomas Nelson Publishers. After fifteen years at the company and six years as the CEO, I stepped down to pursue my life-long dream of being a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur.


image courtesy of

Almost immediately, several of my readers asked, “Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a new CEO?”

Click to Listen

#066: The Difference Between the Wise and the Foolish (and Why It Matters to You) [Podcast]

I recently had a call from a business acquaintance who wanted to discuss a problem he was facing at work. I asked several questions, but it quickly became obvious that he didn’t really want to solve the problem. He had a quiver full of excuses as to why things couldn’t change.

A Man Without His Shoes Tied Together

Photo courtesy of ©

It became apparent I was dealing with a classic “fool.” I know that sounds harsh, but it is what it is. I knew immediately that talking about it any more was a waste of time. I had to change strategies.

Click to Listen