3 Questions Every Leader Is Subconsciously Asked


In my opinion, John Maxwell spoke with the wisdom of Solomon when he gave a speech to the leaders of the United Nations.

He asked himself, "What far reaching and broadly applicable questions could I ask this select group of ambassadorial leaders?"

These questions apply in church, business, government, education, parenting, sports, consulting and every other kind of leadership setting.

Here they are. I'd write them down. They are GOLD for any leader who takes seriously the true substance and value of their influence.

Closeup of businessman holding Questions sign towards you, vintage effect toned image.
Closeup of businessman holding Questions sign towards you, vintage effect toned image.

"Can I trust you?"

"Do you care for me?"

"Can you help me?"

Every person following a leader will ask these questions. If they are not asked externally and consciously, people will certainly engage them internally and subconsciously. Nevertheless, they will always be asked.

Jesus, the greatest leader of human history, was not only questioned in each of these ways, He answered them like no other leader ever has.

Question #1 Can I trust you?

This question revolves around the characterof a leader.

Even though Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, (according to the Bible and the Qur'an) there were people in his day who questioned His character. They even went so far as to accuse Him of being demon possessed! They said, "He casts out demons by the power of Satan!" (Matthew 9:34)

In other words, they were declaring to His followers and those interested in becoming His follower, that though He may be powerful, the source of his power was evil and corrupt, making his leadership untrustworthy.

Imagine that message being broadcast on social media about you and your leadership!

Jesus delivered a legendary answer to His deceived critics.  Matthew 12:25-28

"25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub  by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Ruth Barton nailed it when she said, "People [leaders] are set up to fail if they envision what they want to do before they figure out what kind of person they should be."

[Tweet "My reputation is what people think of me, while my character is what God knows of me."]

Character matters. It matters a lot. Leaders, let's answer the "Can I trust you?" question with great character and integrity.

Question#2 Do you care for me?

This question revolves around the compassion of a leader.

Jesus was regularly moved with compassion. True compassion will always move us to action.

Sadly, tragedy can often tempt us to change our theology. In bad times, it can be difficult to think good thoughts. Even good thoughts towards God. It’s part of the human experience. Watch how Jesus responds to the compassion question.

A man with leprosy approaches Jesus and says, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." He had the “Can you help me?” question answered in his mind. He was already convinced of Jesus’ competency. But the jury was still out in his heart related to Jesus’ compassion.

What was Jesus' response?

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:3)


"People don't care how much you know until the know how much you care." -John Maxwell

Leaders, let's allow compassion to motivate us more than ambition. Those who follow our leadership are asking the "Do you care for me?" question more often than we realize.

#3 Can you help me?

This question revolves around the competencyof a leader.

Jesus created the world in a week, hand crafted mankind in a moment and upholds the universe by the power of His words. I'd say His resume speaks for itself! Yet, every single leader will still be asked this question related to their competency.

People don't care as much about what you've done in another context. They really want to know how you can affect change in their situation.

One day, as Jesus was coming down from the Mt. of Transfiguration, his competency was indicted by a man who desperately needed his son delivered from a demon.

The Father said, "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” (Mark 9:22)

Jesus is God in the flesh. He has no problem helping remove obstacles that appear impossible. And it’s in his heart to do so. This father in need was about to see the Son of God's competency on display.

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Jesus touched the boy and immediately he was set free.

Every leader will have to an answer to these questions; not just with our words but with our actions.

"Well done is better than well said." -Benjamin Franklin

As you can see, even Jesus faced the scrutiny of these leadership questions. Jesus' life shows us that no leader is exempt from being asked these pivotal questions.

Thankfully, He not only modeled for us what it looks like to correctly answer them, but also empowered us to follow His example.

As a leader, are you aware that every person following your leadership is asking these questions?

Are you secure enough in your God-given identity to not react when they manifest, but to instead respond accordingly?

[Tweet "Insecure leaders view every question as an attack on their worth."]

Secure people view questions as “testing for understanding” and an opportunity to:

  • Reveal their true character and substance
  • Display God’s heart of compassion
  • Direct their competency to affect change in a needed situation

Leaders, these three questions are without a doubt coming our way!

Join the Conversation. Add a Comment.

  • Which question do you most naturally answer?
  • Which question do you sense the Holy Spirit highlighting for fresh growth in your leadership?

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image credits: HR payroll systems, redeemingGod.