Many people think that leaders should be talkers and answerers. They hear someone who talks more than anyone else, and who seems to have all the answers, and they say, “Wow, he would be a great leader!”

Well, my experience has been the opposite. I find it difficult to respect people who talk all the time, and who seem to think they have all the answers.

And that jives with some recent articles that argue that the best leaders know how to lead by silence and by asking questions (also here). It was Voltaire who said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than answers.”

And isn’t that what we see in Jesus Christ? When I read the Gospels, I don’t find someone who dominated people by excessive talking or by a “know-it-all” attitude. Rather, I find someone who knew when to speak and when to be silent; who knew when to lead by speaking, and when to lead by silence. And I find someone who certainly knew how to ask questions.

Now that’s someone I can respect…and follow.

  • Jessica Gavin

    I couldn’t agree more. I am totally “off” when I talk too much. It’s only when I really listen that I feel like I have had an effective conversation with someone. Interestingly enough, I’m a personal coach and this is a key skill taught in coaching school. Above all, we should listen to our clients because they always know more about what they need than we do! Great post. Thank you for sharing.