Fulfilling the role of a leader can be quite difficult. This can cause a lot of pressure and stress, which can result in mistakes. That is why it is beneficial at times to take a step back and ask yourself some questions that are designed to help you become better. Below are 10 questions that every leader should ask themselves in order to fulfill their leadership potential.
1. What Kind of Culture are You Creating?
The culture of whatever group you are leading needs to foster something, usually an ethos or ideal. There can be several of these ideals being fostered at once as well. The point, however, is the atmosphere and drive of the group needs to eventually make these ideals a reality. Knowing exactly what type of culture you want to create, and what type you want to avoid, can help you as a leader decide the direction of your company. For some tips on how to get started, check out this article by Peter Economy in Inc.
2. What is Your Enthusiasm Level?
What is not meant here by enthusiasm is a fake level of glee every time you are with your staff or organization. What is meant by enthusiasm is the energy and drive to accomplish both your goals as a leader and the organization’s goals. Do you have an infectious sense of drive and enthusiasm to get the work done? Answer this question by making a conscious effort to be more enthusiastic and driven about the projects your group is working on. That energy can be contagious to others and can help push a group forward.
3. Do You Have a Vision?
Having a vision for the organization or business that you are leading is so important. A vision for the future gives something for people to work towards and an ideal to chase. It can help motivate both you and your employees to work harder towards something. Create your vision by taking time to truly consider where you see your organization or business months and years down the road. Consider what type of impact you would like to have on your community. Open up the vision to some trusted co-workers and employees as well.
4. What is Your Work Ethic Like?
Work ethic is such an important part of being a leader. Besides being able to get more work done, having a good work ethic as a leader can help inspire and motivate your workers as well. Knowing that their leader is working just as hard or harder with them and for them can really bring out the best in the people you are leading. Strive to create habits that will steadily increase your work ethic and capacity, like coming in to work early every day.
5. Are You Approachable?
While some people have no problem telling their boss or leader exactly how they feel, many struggle when approaching leadership. That is why it is critical to be approachable as a leader. You need to be able to hear feedback from people in order to improve.
6. Are you Decisive?
One of the banes of good leadership is indecisiveness. It can cripple an operation and can make the workforce despise you as a leader. One of the ways to combat this is by being decisive. Take time to consider situations and make the best choice possible. Understanding the OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) can help you understand the decision-making process better. Check out this article by Richard Feloni and Anaele Pelisson in Business Insider UK for more on the OODA Loop.
7. Are You Delegating?
While leaders do need to make decisions, decision fatigue can be a serious problem. Having to make too many decisions can lead to poor decision making. That is why delegating tasks and assignments is so important. Giving trusted people the freedom to make decisions and take charge of projects is vitally important to your own leadership ability. To help you figure what to delegate, follow Jayson DeMers’ advice in his article in Inc. and create a priority system that grades tasks based on skill level.
8. How are You Running Meetings?
While meetings are important, they can quickly get sidetracked and off-topic. That is why as a leader you need to have a specific goal before beginning a conference, as suggested by Neal Hartman in his article in Forbes. Make sure you have specific goals in mind, and keep the conversation moving towards that goal.
9. Are You Impartial?
While there may be people that you are leading that have specific talents in certain areas, you should try to be impartial in dealing with the people you are leading. This is especially true if there is drama in the group. Make sure to not take sides on issues, and try to squash any drama as quickly as possible.
10. Do You Know Workers’ Strengths and Weaknesses?
Part of good delegation is being able to determine what specific skills and traits your employees or workers have. This can be invaluable in determining who should be involved in what area or project. Take time to notice which people are good at certain tasks and delegate those tasks to them.
At a certain point, every leader needs to take a step back and evaluate their performance. Hopefully the questions listed above can help you get an honest evaluation of your leadership and perhaps spot areas you need to improve in.