There are a lot of questions leaders can ask themselves and should on a regular basis. But if they could only ask one, I would highly recommend it be this one: “How would I feel following someone like me?”
Have you ever thought what it would be like to be led by you? It’s a great question to reflect on as a leadership development activity. What you think you are and what you really are as a leader can be two very different things entirely. Yes, you could use a more formal 360 tool (feedback on your leadership skills from your peers, those you lead, your manager and self), however this question can help you close the gap of perception and reality as well and has the benefit of being asked regularly.
As you consistently ask yourself the question above, it is important to do the following three things to help you actually do something with your response.
1. Ask. Ask yourself two questions, “What do I like most about those who lead me?” Then ask, “What do I like least about those who lead me?” Asking yourself these two questions helps you uncover what you value most in a leader and what others most likely value as well and gives you something to strive towards.
Do you like leaders who care, are fair and service oriented? Do you like leaders who speak the truth regardless of how difficult it might be to do so. Do you like leaders who recognize and reward? What is it that you like the most, what do you like least?
There is a good chance that your ideal leader is based on someone who personally led and impacted you in a positive way. If you never personally had someone who modeled great leadership, then who have you read about, seen or heard that you would want to follow?
2. Measure. Reflect on how you are doing compared to where you want to be based on the questions you asked above. Don’t simply ask yourself if you would like to be led by someone like you without really thinking about what that means and what to do about it.
What are you missing? Where are your gaps? What do you need to keep doing, what do you need to stop doing and what do you need to start doing more of?
3. Improve. Once you have a clear idea on what you want to be, create a plan and do it!
Unfortunately this is where most of us as leaders fail. We might be great at assessing our weaknesses and even knowing what to do about them, but then we get busy and do little to improve.
It’s as simple as keeping a little notebook by your desk with your plan and referring to it at the start of the day and reflecting on what you will do differently to improve. You could even score yourself each day marking progress or areas to do better in.
In conclusion, the reflection and action I have outlined above takes as little as a few minutes a day, but the benefits to you, those you lead and your organization is multiplied by thousands. I hope this question has an impact for good on the way you lead those you care about. I would welcome and love to hear from you in the comments below.
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