Interview with Kristin Lindeen: Professional Speaker

“Lead. Lead for the sake of leading, and don’t play victim if no one acknowledges you, or recognizes you in the same way as someone else’’.

Kristin Lindeen is a professional Speaker and Church planter passionate about personal growth. She loves coming alongside a leader and helping him or her succeed. Her goal in life is to help individuals recognize their unique influence-potential in their worlds, and have fun while doing it! In interactive, engaging sessions, Kristin shares the message of personal accountability and the QBQ! Her clients include corporations, associations, schools, churches, and nonprofits. She enjoys delivering practical content to groups with a style that is energetic and fun. When not travelling, Kristin can be found at home in Maple Grove, Minnesota, relaxing with her husband, Erik, 5 year old son, Joshua, 3 year old daughter, Rebecca and 9 month old, Andrew.

You grew up in a home where Personal Accountability was paramount. How has that influenced your own life philosophy?

I can’t imagine NOT understanding and believing in the value of personal accountability. It shapes my life in so many ways. Being accountable helps me in my parenting, in my marriage, my career, my relationships—everywhere! There’s not an area of life that’s not improved when I have the mentality of, “If it is to be, it’s up to me!” and “What can I do to help?”


As someone steeped in the message of personal accountability, what are some of the things that you would do naturally that perhaps others would agonize over?

Well, let’s make one thing clear—I’m still human! I definitely have my moments where I whine, blame, or procrastinate with the best of them! But here’s the difference: I know I’m doing it. And that’s what keeping Personal Accountability front of mind does; it helps a person recognize more quickly the temptation to fall into those traps, and then, helps me climb back out, swallow my pride, and choose accountability instead. Like right now, I’m sitting on the floor of the Minneapolis airport surrounded by my three children. Our flight was supposed to leave at 10:05 am. It is now 12:55pm. And they just announced we are delayed until 4:20pm. Right after the announcement, I dropped my head in my hands, and asked a dozen “why me” questions. But then, mostly because I’m modeling for three children how to respond when life doesn’t go as we’d planned, I picked myself up, said, “What can I do to make the best of this?”, hugged my kids and handed them iPads. There’s no value in complaining about situations I can’t control!


You are a speaker on personal accountability which teaches/coaches on QBQ (the Question Behind the Question). Why are questions so key to personal accountability and what are some typically questions one can ask themselves?   

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question is all about how to identify the lousy questions we ask ourselves, and instead ask better questions (QBQs). If you really reflect on how you respond in an unexpected situation, or when something doesn’t go as you planned, it’s often in the form of questions. My current example: “Why didn’t the airline tell us sooner?” “When is someone going to tell us what’s going on?” “Who’s fault is this?” “Why is winter weather so unpredictable?” These are the questions piling up in my mind. But when I can practice the QBQ, I can replace those questions with better ones: “What can I do to make the most of this?” “How can I model acceptable behavior to my kids?” “What can I do to let go of what I can’t control?” (Which is none of it—except my own response!) Start thinking about it, and you’ll notice all the questions you ask yourself throughout the day too!


Congratulations on the teacher handbook ‘’I Own It! Building Character Through Personal Accountability’’ Why did you find it necessary to write it and what impact is it making?

Thank you! It was fun to put together. We often have requests for “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” sessions for young people, and we often have parents/teachers/coaches/mentors asking if there’s a “youth” version of the book, QBQ! Since QBQ! is already such a well written, easy to read book, understandable by young people, we chose not to write a youth version, but instead write a curriculum that uses the QBQ! book and helps teachers walk through 10 lessons geared toward 9th-12th graders. We had numerous examples from teachers and coaches who have found this to be a practical way to bring a foundational topic into their classrooms. It’s easy to fit in no matter what grade and what subject is being taught! The next generation needs personal accountability just as much as everyone else, and I Own It! is a great way to get it to them.

What are some of the misconceptions people have on personal accountability especially in organizations and how do you help them to gain the right perspective and understanding?

Accountability has become such a buzz word in our culture. There are definitely misconceptions about what it is! Often times, in my work, I encounter people who want to know how to hold others accountable. The problem with that is we teach personal accountability. In my sessions, I explain that personal accountability is not something I can do for others or they can do for me, but it’s something I do for myself. I can only change myself, so that’s the best place to focus my energy!


Character does not get as much attention and recognition in society as one would hope. What advice would you give parents, schools or anyone with influence or care over young people on how to nurture their character?

Be intentional. Our world is so fast paced and scattered. I think the biggest thing is we have so much going on, so much in our minds and on our calendars, that the crucial act of instilling character is often overlooked. I tell my kids to “be kind” but forget to explain what that looks like. I say “offer to help Daddy with the groceries” without taking the time to talk about why it’s important to serve. Not that I am obligated to offer my children an explanation for everything—most times, they just need to obey. ) But it’s important to be intentional in helping these young kids understand the reasoning behind what we ask them to do, and tell them to do all the time. I know for me, knowing the “why” helps me get behind an idea or instructive.  It helps them too. And of course, to teach character, we must model character. As we say in Parenting the QBQ Way, don’t tell your children “don’t lie!” but then when an unwanted visitor rings the doorbell, instruct your kid to “tell them I’m not home!!!” Character is caught, more than it is taught.


Similarly, these days leadership seems to focus on all manner of things but. What are some of the other critical qualities of leadership that in your view are at risk and need to be actively protected and nurtured?

I believe that integrity is severely at risk in our culture. White lies, slippery slopes of personal opinion, lack of a basic foundation for morals and consistent regard for absolute truth are far too common and are eroding the integrity of individuals. Our children are being taught that we can all devise our own truth, and that expecting others—whether the government or non profits or churches or schools—to care for us and fix our mistakes and solve our problems is absolutely all right. Accountability is going by the wayside, and in its place are entitlement and blame. This is not integrity. And integrity is essential for leadership.


Women are making progress towards being more visible as leaders. What more can women do to be seen as leaders not just heard? 

Using QBQ, ask questions like “What can I do to add value?” “How can I eliminate victim thinking in my life, and seek to contribute?” “What can I do to make a difference?” “How can I respect others, and therefore gain respect?” What can we do to be seen as leaders? Lead. Lead for the sake of leading, and don’t play victim if no one acknowledges you, or doesn’t recognize you in the same way as someone else.


You believe you naturally mentor and are developer of people; what would you say are the attributes of an effective mentor?

Curiosity and intentionality. In order to get into someone’s life, I have to ask a lot of questions. My dad always tells me to put on my questioning hat and ask questions of prospective clients! This applies in a mentoring relationship as well. And intentionality. I have to be intentional about spending time with a person, and investing in their life. Especially now, as a working mom of three kids under 5, and wife of a church planter, I don’t have as much “space” in my life as I used to for mentoring others! It takes making the most of brief moments, and planning longer stints of time with a person when I’m able to. I’ve learned at this point in life, I have to simply invite people into my “crazy” and invest in them while I’m wiping noses, teaching values, breaking up kid fights, and making dinner.


What’s the strongest and most frequent compliment you’ve been paid as a leader and how does that influence your leadership?

I consistently hear that I make people feel welcome, and accurately and quickly connect them to others like them in the community I’m in. So, my leadership tends to play out in the connecting of people to other people. One of my most favorite things in the whole world is to say, “Hey! Kelly, meet Christina. Christina, Kelly. Here’s what you two have in common: _________. Now, be friends!” That brings my heart so much joy.


For more information on Vera Ng’oma’s work and resources in leadership, personal and career development and excellence building, click here.

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