Leadership comes with great responsibility, and great responsibility calls for regular reflection upon who you are as a leader, how you are developing, and your impact on the organization.
Regular periods of self-reflection are needed to ensure that you are heading in the right direction regarding empowering your people, making progress towards your vision, and creating a sustainable legacy over the long term.
Asking purposeful questions that challenge you and get to the heart of what it means to be a leader can uncover how well you measure up and highlight areas for self-improvement.
Has my "Why" evolved since I started?
Change is constant and inescapable. Processes, plans, goals, and even team members will change or evolve over time. Your ‘Why’ is what drives your emotions, actions, and behaviors. It’s the key to unlocking the purpose that leads your organization and the foundation upon which everything is built. Every decision you make is influenced by your purpose, which is why it’s crucial to reflect on it regularly.
Ask yourself, “Is the ‘why’ of what I’m doing the same as it was when I started?” If your ‘why’ has shifted, then you may have strayed from your values or vision. If that’s the case, it’s time to strategize to ensure a successful re-alignment, so your purpose continues to drive your organization. If you want to inspire people to get behind your purpose and vision, they need to believe in what you believe in.
Am I developing as a leader?
There are no perfect leaders. If there were, they wouldn’t need followers. So if you think you have it all figured out and that you’re at the pinnacle level of leadership, then reflect on how you’re developing. Leaders who value continuous development, and who remain agile and curious are capable of adapting to the most significant and unexpected challenges.
Contemplate how you’re developing. If your list is limited, explore opportunities that will help you grow and develop your skills as a leader in your organization.
Am I as accessible as I can be?
Take a moment to reflect on this question.
Did you think of physical availability? Perhaps, you considered yourself available because you have an “open-door policy” or a “virtual communication policy” if you’re remote. If so, you need to differentiate physical availability and accessibility.
Accessibility goes beyond physical availability because it’s everything that happens the moment someone walks in your door and your accountability that follows. Now reflect on this question again and ask yourself:
- Does the culture I created encourage people to talk to me?
- Am I providing enough support?
- Am I actively listening to others’ input?
- Do I consistently follow up with people?
- Do I show genuine appreciation and gratitude for my team members?
If you encourage your team to share their input and ideas because you read in an article that you should, ask yourself if you’re genuine. In the case of leadership, actions speak louder than words.
Do I seek enough feedback?
Countless people avoid feedback because they worry it may bruise the ego or harm their self-confidence, but as the saying goes - no pain, no gain. One of the bravest acts you can perform is to explore honest and constructive feedback on your performance as a leader. You can do this during team performance reviews or one-to-one employee check-ins.
Embrace the discomfort and seek out suggestions on how you can improve and support your team. Just as you would follow up with someone on their need to be accessible, It’s critical you follow through and integrate feedback for it to make a meaningful impact. Take this feedback, reflect on it some more, and embrace how you can grow as a leader.
Self-reflection translates into a powerful organization
Just as leaders expect certain standards from their people, their role as a leader holds them to greater standards.
Dedicating time to self-reflection fosters self-awareness and helps leaders ensure they’re holding themselves to this greater standard and walking on the path they paved.
Regardless of whether you’re a leader, manager, or team member, asking these questions can help you boost your strengths, emotional intelligence, and integrity, and can make any necessary improvements that will enhance your ability to be of greater service and benefit to yourself as well as others.
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