Leading Out Loud

If I don’t have the answer when someone asks me a question, I feel like I’m failing. How ridiculous is that statement? It’s true for me, though, and there is a lot of pride wrapped up in wanting to be seen as someone who always knows just what to say. The glaring issue is that I can’t know everything, and that doesn’t make me a failure or a bad leader.

Look at the disciples that Jesus called – they weren’t qualified and didn’t have the education or the knowledge but look at what Christ did with their willingness to learn and follow Him. Many times, the disciples got it wrong or didn’t know the answers. They often got ahead of themselves, and Jesus had to help correct, even flat-out rebuke them at times. These were the ones that Jesus called and one characteristic they shared is that they were teachable.

This past year has put me in a situation that I’ve never been in before nor could have imagined. There were many times I didn’t have the answers. In situations like this, a good friend calls it “leading out loud.” It’s the times when there is no denying you don’t have the answers, but you are honest about that with your team, family, spouse, kids, etc. For me this applies in all these areas, and I’ve seen “leading out loud” be a great thing in several ways.

  1. Authenticity: When you are honest about a situation and lead out loud it shows that you are real, need the help of others, and that you value the opinion of those around you. I’ve even seen this help others be open about when they need help or don’t know what to do, rather than hiding it and struggling through a situation alone. As you lead out loud you show them that it’s ok to not know everything and it also fosters a culture of teamwork…which brings up the next point:
  2. Teamwork: We are better together. Our different backgrounds, experiences, education, knowledge, and abilities make us better when we bring those ideas together. Leading out loud forces you to think outside your box, head, or knowledge, so you have the chance to see a problem from a different perspective and come up with the best solutions.
  3. Freedom: Leading out loud also comes with freedom from the pressure of having all the answers all the time. That is an impossible task to begin with; you are only fooling yourself because everyone around you already knows you don’t know everything. Strength doesn’t come from having all the answers, it comes from being brave enough to know you don’t and that you need others around you.

Leading out loud is so much more than this, but here’s something that it isn’t: Leading out loud isn’t an opportunity to complain, vent, or cast doubt on a situation. Doing that would divide and scatter people instead of having the intended outcomes…bringing people together to increase the knowledge pool to come up with the best solutions.


Adam McCain
General Manager, WCQR
Positive Alternative Radio

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