If you are a leader, I hope you are asking yourself that question on a regular basis. If not, I would question your judgment and suggest you might be more powerful and effective as an individual contributor.
This series is for busy professionals who want to find easier ways to improve their essential leadership skills.
Below are ten statements or notions followed by a reflection and an action. Review the reflection and determine how you would rate yourself and decide if that’s acceptable to you or not. If you want to make improvements, do the suggested action.
1. To move forward, leaders make decisions.
Reflection: Do you make decisions?
Action: Today, make and act on one big decision you’ve been putting off.
2. There are those who wait for someone else to act, and there are those who won’t wait, and instead make things happen.
Reflection: How often do you take the initiative?
Action: Don’t wait to see who moves first, be the person who moves first.
3. There is joy in solving problems and finding solutions. There is pain in letting things rot, fester or stagnate. As a leader, you set the stage; which one do you prefer?
Reflection: Do you inspire creativity?
Action: Feed yourself with something that inspires you today, then encourage creativity in others. (Repeat often)
4. Leaders shouldn’t be situationally responsible. When you goof, you own it. When you succeed, you share the credit. That’s the compact if you want to be taken seriously.
Reflection: Are you accountable for your actions?
Action: Pick an important item you’re wavering on and find someone to hold you accountable for the results.
5. When you admonish people for acting a certain way, and then you act that way, you look foolish.
Reflection: Do you set your own example?
Action: Today and every day after, don’t think your job is done by setting your own example. You have to also BE your own example.
6. Whim is difficult to anticipate. People don’t always know what’s going on in their leader’s head.
Reflection: Do you communicate expectations?
Action: Thinking does not make it so. Acting on those thoughts does. Be clear about what you want. If people don’t understand you, that’s on you – not them.
7. How do you know if something has changed? You compare it to what was. Do that several times and you have a trend. That doesn’t mean everything becomes predictable, but it does make it better than a guess.
Reflection: Do you measure performance?
Action: Pick something you’re curious about and take two measurements; a UNIT measure (weight, height, number of occurrences, etc.) and an INTERVAL measure (hours, days weeks, months, etc.) See what trends begin to emerge and notice if your assumptions are met or challenged. Otherwise, you are just guessing.
8. Ken Blanchard is fond of saying, “Raise your hand if you’re getting too much reward and recognition.”
Reflection: Do you reward the efforts of others?
Action: Make a point of noticing what people do right (or approximately right) today, and acknowledge them.
9. Feedback is information. It is not inherently positive or negative – but how it is delivered influences how it is received.
Reflection: Do you give continuous feedback?
Action: First ask if your feedback would be welcomed, and then be sure it is for their benefit, not yours.
10. The point of a team is to accomplish results better than if pursued singularly.
Reflection: Do you place team members where they can win?
Action: Evaluate your current results and decide if you have the right people in the right positions for right now.
Acting on these ten sections will improve your leadership. Share your favorite or which one resonated the most with you in the comments section. I’d love to hear about your progress.
Also published on Medium.