With great power comes great responsibility, and great responsibility calls for regular reflection upon who you are as a leader and how you are growing.
Regular periods of self-reflection are needed to ensure that we are heading in the right direction regarding empowering our people, making progress towards our vision, and creating a sustainable legacy over the long term.
Asking meaningful questions that bring you discomfort and get to the heart of what it means to be a leader can show you how well you measure up and highlight areas where your attention is needed.
Is the ‘Why’ of what I’m doing the same as it was when I started?
Change is inevitable. Processes, plans, priorities, and even those on your team will change or evolve. Your Why/Purpose is what drives you to emotionally do what you do. It’s the rock upon which everything is built, and it drives every decision you make in the organization, which is why it’s important to consistently reflect on it.
Start by asking, “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 mission. If that’s the case, ask yourself what strategies you can create 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.
How am I developing as a leader?
There are no perfect leaders, so if you think you have it all figured out and that you’re at the pinnacle level of leadership, then it’s time to reflect on how you’re developing. Leaders who remain agile and curious and who value continuous development are best able to adapt to the most significant and most unexpected challenges.
Reflect on how you’re developing. If your list is limited, contemplate how you can seek opportunities to 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? For example, perhaps, you considered yourself accessible because you have an “open-door policy” or a “virtual communication policy” if you’re remote. If so, it’s essential 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:
- Have I created an environment that encourages people to come to me in need?
- Am I providing enough support?
- Do I demonstrate genuine appreciation and gratitude for my team members?
- Am I actively listening to others’ input?
- Do I consistently follow up with people?
For example, if you’re going to encourage your team to share their input and ideas because you one time read in an article that you should, ask yourself if you’re genuine. Especially in the case of leadership, actions speak louder than your words.
Have I been seeking enough feedback?
There are copious amounts of people who don’t seek feedback because it could bruise the ego or harm our self-confidence, but as the saying goes - no pain, no gain. One of the most courageous acts you can perform is to seek 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.
Actively seek out suggestions on how you can improve and support your team. It’s critical to 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 makes the best leaders
Just as leaders expect certain standards from their people, their position as a leader holds them to greater standards.
Regular periods of self-reflection are needed to ensure that you’re holding yourself to this standard and that you’re heading in the right direction.
Regardless of whether you’re in a leadership position or not, these questions can help you bolster your strengths and 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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