By Chuck Lawless
At the seminary where I teach, we are planning now for the end-of-the-academic year faculty evaluations. Annual evaluations like these are helpful and necessary. They push us to ask how we might improve over the next academic year.
Most leaders, though, would benefit from more regular evaluations – particularly self-evaluations. Even daily and weekly self-evaluations merit our consideration if we want to lead well, regardless of our position.
Listed here are ten questions to help you evaluate your life and leadership at the end of each week. Plan now to consider these questions on Friday or Saturday of this week.
- Have I decreased, and Jesus increased during this past week? By looking at your schedule, activities, conversations, thoughts, and priorities, whose kingdom have you sought to build this week– God’s or yours? Are you more conformed to the image of Jesus this week?
- What do I know about God and His Word I didn’t know last week? If you’ve learned nothing new, it’s possible that: you haven’t sought God through study this week; you’ve studied, but it’s been routine and non-transforming; you’ve been a Christian so long you don’t think much about any needed growth; and/or, you’ve stopped growing. None of these possibilities should mark a godly leader.
- Would someone want to pray like I’ve prayed this week? Jesus’ disciples watched and listened as Jesus spent intimate time with His Father — and they in turn wanted to pray like He did. They longed to experience what He experienced in prayer. Knowing your prayer life this past week, would you be pleased for someone to model his/her prayer life after yours?
- Would my family say they are my priority based on this week’s activities? You can’t answer this question, of course, on your own–but you can take the risk to ask it. How would your spouse answer this question? your children? How much of your undivided attention did they get this week? What or who would they say is most important to you?
- With whom did I attempt to share the gospel this week? Some evangelistic attempts do not result in your proclaiming the whole message, but we are never given permission to do less than share the Word with others. Did you at least make legitimate attempts to do so this week? With whom? Are you praying for those persons?
- Who will walk more with Christ next week because he/she learned from me this week? This question hits at your disciple making work this week. If no one learned from you in an intentional mentoring relationship, I doubt it’s because no one wanted to walk with you. More often it’s because we haven’t prioritized mentoring like Jesus did.
- Did I hide anything this past week (and, more pointedly, am I hiding anything now)? The devil works in our secrets. He delights in our darkness, even when our outward Christian walk appears to be solid. Godly leaders, on the other hand, know that nothing less than honest confession and heartbroken repentance bring our sin under the light of God’s forgiveness.
- If I were to step out of my leadership role today, would the work continue well without me? You may be new in your role, but even new leaders must quickly seek to improve their organizations. If the work you lead would be seriously stymied by your departure, you may not be leading the organization well. In fact, you may be committing idolatry of the self if you are the center of the work.
- What would my immediate reports say about my leadership this week? It’s likely they see you most closely. They hear your words, watch your reactions, and examine your life. They know when you say one thing and do another. They recognize when you lead reactively rather than proactively. Your reports can probably tell you whether you’ve been a good leader this week.
- What are my plans for leading better next week? An evaluation without an intentional plan for improvement is an exercise in futility. What will you do differently next week? What steps will you take to improve? Who will hold you accountable to these plans?
Which question above most challenges you? What other questions might you add to this list?