Leadership check-in: Ask yourself these 10 questions
Updated: Jun 14
Early in my career I found it difficult to say "no" to requests. I took on the extra work, even though I didn't have time, or if it wasn't my job. There were even times I knew the request would bring no value to the organization based on my knowledge and experience. I called this "throwing crap on the wall and hoping it would stick." Later in my career, I worked with a mentor and leadership coaches. This helped me to build confidence and learn tools and techniques to help me grow. I started to speak up. I started to say no. I love the quote, "No is a complete sentence." I learned words to use and began to practice. And, wouldn't you know it? It worked, I had started to find my voice.
As I grew in my leadership abilities, I used these 10 questions to check-in with myself. I have these printed and they hang over my computer as a visual reminder to strive for continuous improvement as a leader.
1 - Do you have a high "say and do" ratio? When you say you're going to do something - do you? When you leave a meeting, promising to send a follow-up, do you? Doing what you say you're going to do builds trust and you become a valuable and reliable resource to others.
2 - How do you contribute value to others? Do you put the needs of others first? By doing so, you empower people to perform at their best. When team members see your passion and your commitment through your actions, they want to be connected to you. Do you provide them with the tools, support and training they need? Do you listen? Do you ask questions? Are you quick to forgive and forget if they make a mistake?
3 - Are you willing to challenge yourself and grow? When was the last time you challenged yourself at work? Have you raised your hand to help with a stretch project? If not, what is holding you back?
4 - Do you own your decisions?
Do you follow a process for making decisions? Identify the end goal, gather information, evaluate risks, make the decision then own and execute it. Then, evaluate the decision after the fact. If you follow a process and do the thought work, you'll be more confident in owning the decision.
5 - Who is going to speak up for you when you're not in the room? Do you have a mentor or sponsor? Who are the people in your network that will speak up for you when you're not in the room? Identify them and cultivate those relationships.
6 - What is your bottom line value to the organization? Do you know, articulate and believe the value you bring? As a marketer, my team is often looked at only spending money and not brining money into the business. It's important to identify the bottom line value your projects bring to the organization. Even if metrics are difficult to identify, you need to start somewhere. Maybe a survey after events? What marketing efforts are bringing in lead and sales? What efforts are retaining business or cross selling? Alternatively, if there are marketing efforts that can't be measured, or don't bring value, don't hesitate to articulate recommendations to make changes.
7 - Are you positive and grateful? Positivity goes a long way. Today's business world changes at a rapid pace. Are you facing these changes with positivity? Are you grateful for all the blessings in your life? It's been my experience that change always brings opportunity.
8 - Do you have a clear vision of strategy and how you align? Just because you like doing something, or have done it a certain way in the past, doesn't mean it aligns with strategy. When is the last time you looked at your activities and made sure they aligned to the organization's goals?
9 - Do you publicize that you are hitting metrics? A former boss once told me, "Tell them what we're doing. Do it. Tell them we did it." Are you talking about the projects you work on and how they are hitting the agreed upon metrics? If there are not metrics, how are you being measured?
10 - Do you trust your instincts?
Many times in my career, my inner voice was telling me something and I've regretted that I didn't listen. Are you giving yourself quiet time for contemplation and really listening to your instincts?
What questions do you ask yourself to stay on the right path for leadership development?