As a young leader I’ve realized something:
The more questions I ask, the more insightful I will be. Without asking questions, it’s easy for a leader to get off-track. I will lose sight of the endgame. I begin to drift and wander. I will not reach my potential.
As you’re taking some downtime this holiday break, take a moment to ask yourself some questions and do a leadership inventory of your life.
So, what questions should a leader ask themselves? Here are 10 questions that every leader must ask themselves:
1. Why am I leading?
You’re leading for a reason. Or at least you started out leading with a reason. Odd’s are its tied back to that moment when you were gripped with “I just have to do something about this” and whatever that was tied to…is why you are leading.
Asking yourself “Why am I leading?” will help you put the focus back where it belongs.
2. Am I leading Biblically?
When we face leadership conflict or uncertainty, it's easy as a leader to reach for our leadership maxims on our bookshelf: "17 Laws of Awesomeness on How To Be More Awesome." When we’re not focused on our faith, we can begin to stray and lead in ways that are unbecoming of a Christian. As a leader, is the Bible the source of my leadership? Because if I’m truly a Christian, I go to proverbs and parables first…then I hit up my mentors and authors.
Ask yourself constantly “Does my leadership model the behavior of Christ?” If not, you know where you need to change.
3. Who am I leading?
Get to know who is on your team. Sure, you may know their names and faces but do you really know who they are? When was the last time you talked to them about something other than, work, business, goals, projects, etc?
Good leaders get to know their team well. They find out what they like to do and what motivates them.
4. Have I helped someone recently?
There’s a desire in all of us as leaders to grow people. Growing people is about recognizing where they are lacking and filling in the gap when you can. You have expertise that others are needing. You don’t know it but someone near you needs your leadership.
When is the last time you helped someone get from point A to point B? This should be one of your goals as a leader.
5. What am I willing to give up?
Simon Sinek talks a lot about the role of a leader in his poignant leadership book Leaders Eat Last. Within the book, you will see why leaders must be willing to give up their own desires for the betterment of the team.
Jesus mandate to his disciples was to "deny yourself, take up your cross and follow." If that expectation is from Jesus for his leaders...maybe it should be ours as well.
6. Where am I adding value?
We all have the potential to add value where we are at. Leaders collect inspiration, develop thoughts and retain information so that it can not only inspire us but inspire others. Leaders add value where they are at in their organization. Where are you contributing and are people resonating?
7. Are people actually following me?
There are many people who consider themselves leaders yet if they were to look behind them, they wouldn’t see any followers. For someone to lead, they’ve got to have people who are watching and following them. 1 Corinthians 11:1 is a Scripture I memorized a long time ago, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Another way to word this question is, “Are you worth following?”
Ask yourself if there’s anyone who’s actually paying attention. You might be surprised by the answer.
8. Who am I following?
Not only must a leader have people following him, great leaders also follow others.
Make a list of people who you respect, authors you love, leaders you listen to, people who inspire you, family members you reach out to and people in your organization who have done it better or who have gone farther. Reach out to them this next year, build a team of people who you connect with regularly and watch your leadership grow this year.
9. What have I learned recently?
I’ve heard it said, "Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers."
While this saying is a generalization, it’s true that the majority of leaders are consistent learners. They’re searching for content that will help them improve their strengths.
Another list to make while you are relaxing this holiday break:
What blogs do you follow?
What podcasts do you listen to?
Do you have a reading list on deck to devour when you get down time?
Make a list and build a system to collect content so you can learn (use Evernote, subscribe to podcasts, carve out an hour a day to learn from others, etc).
Ask yourself “What have I consciously made an effort to learn recently and if I haven’t…why not?”
10. Who am I?
You may be at a point where you no longer know who you are. That’s a dangerous spot to be in. And it comes from not asking questions. I love taking tests that help me ask questions that give results of who I am. I have trusted relationships around me that I can ask what my strengths and weaknesses are.
Knowing who you are will give you the strength and confidence to lead through tough times. It will be a guiding light and keep you on the right path.
Never stop asking yourself ” Who am I?”