30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Being a great leader depends on how well they know themselves. Leaders must make sure that they are self-aware, clearly communicate their goals and expectations, reach their goals, set high standards, expect quality work and meet deadlines, demonstrate that all their team members matter, show gratitude, don’t settle and spend time with their team.

Needless to say, a little introspection is required from time to time.

Wondering how do you become the best version of yourself? 

30 Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves

Sometimes, we end up in or go after leadership positions but don’t understand why or how we got there.

It is always important to assess our goals, values and purpose every step of the way.

1) What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership encapsulates different concepts and key competencies.

For most, leadership is the ability to wheel power, to influence people positively in order to be successful, to bring like-minded individuals together towards a common goal or vision and to translate that vision into reality.

In order to be effective you must figure out what leadership means to you.

2) Why do you want to be a leader? What is your purpose in life?

Most people want to lead because they see themselves in power, in control, with status and doing whatever they want.

However, leaders are always held accountable for their actions, have to serve as models and have to exhibit exemplary behavior.

Without an ethical purpose in mind, they will not be able to sustain their role very long.

If you weren’t a leader, what would you do? What career would you pursue?

3) What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Do you have sufficient resources to achieve your goals and yourself?

Leaders must find at least one field in which they excel. This will develop their credibility, their confidence and will help you be of assistance to people in need.

4) What are your core values? 

If your leadership roles don’t correspond to your values, it is time to rethink your career.

5) How do you center yourself? 

Learning to center yourself, to choose peace of mind requires that you acquire new healthy habits and that you question your thoughts that most often are an illusion or distorted memories.

Figure out how to preserve your time and energy, how to ensure your growth, how to continually improve as a person, and how to boost your leadership self-esteem?

6) Can you grow within your role and responsibilities?

Some people get into positions to please their families, impress their friends or flatter their own egos.

A job or a role in which you feel boxed in is frustrating, leaves little space for you to develop your skills or maximize your strengths.

7) How do you wish to impact the world and the people around you?

As a leader, you must project yourself in the future and visualize the legacy that you want to leave.

8) Do you walk the talk? 

Integrity is currently a rare character trait and most sought after leadership attribute that can help you succeed in the workplace as much as in life.

It actually goes a long way and projects more authority and credibility than a title or a position would.

Furthermore, the team you lead, the environment that you work in is a direct reflection of you. If you want a trusting workplace, be trustworthy.

9) Are you open to learn?

Being open to learn and to explore is detrimental to success.

To start the learning process, you can read books, take trainings and classes, and talk to people who are in positions that you aspire to.

Furthermore, you must understand that if you seek knowledge, you will never fully be an expert.

10) Are you developing a healthy work life balance?

Creating work-life balance is not giving equal attention to both work and life.

But, it means that you are satisfied with your contributions to your life and work, that you are able to create a sustainable synergy between both so that you are fueled by them on a daily basis.

To do so, you must focus on the vital few and not let your career affect your personal life and vice versa.

11) Are you self-interested or committed to the collective good?

We choose a certain career because our ever-changing needs and desires align with that particular career but not necessarily with the collective good.

In the leadership position, there is a huge discrepancy between hiring the right person with the right competencies for the job, between hiring someone with lesser competencies to feel unthreatened, between hiring someone to serve you and caress your ego.

There is also a difference between wanting the organization to succeed, wanting the team and the project to shine, and taking all the credit for someone else’s work.

12) What is your favorite leadership style

Leadership style refers to the way that the leader interacts with his or her employees, influences their behavior, motivates them, make decisions for them and for the organization.

A specific leadership style can deeply influence the quality of work, the levels of commitment, the work satisfaction of both leader and employees.

13) Are you emotionally intelligent?

We cannot control everything in our life.

However, we can control how we react to different situations, how we see ourselves and who we aspire to be.

14) Are you able to solve conflicts effectively?

Leaders must be able to anticipate problems and implement solutions for the future. What strategies do you apply? How do you handle bad news? How do you set boundaries? Do you encourage dissension?

15) Do you have interpersonal skills?

There are several components to leadership. One of them is building and maintaining healthy relationships.

Leaders are responsible for the people they hire and the people that they lead. How do you build your team?

16) Are you culturally sensitive? 

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that everyone is different.

It means being able to learn from different people, to understand their backgrounds, to collaborate and cooperate with them, without being judgmental.

17) When have you failed, how have you recovered yourself and what have you learned about yourself then? 

Failures don’t directly lead to success but it can show you the way. It is best when your mistakes come to light rather than going unnoticed.

18) What are your greatest achievements as a leader and as a follower?

It is important to recall the time you have succeeded and demonstrated great leadership.

The memory of past success will serve you right when you face challenges. If you did it once, then you can do it again.

19) Are you able to direct someone else towards success? 

Mentorship is usually the realization of leadership.

It is similar to tutorship, to parenthood, to partnership, or to an alliance.

20) Are you able to delegate?

Delegating increases employee empowerment and talent engagement, leads to higher levels of commitment, innovationmotivation, and better relationships..

21) Are you able to perform under pressure?

As a leader, your behavior in pressure moments impacts those around you and can predict their performance.

22) How do you solve problems and make sound decisions?

The ability to anticipate, to solve problems, to make quick and sound decisions will determine the success of a leader.

23) How do you motivate others? Can you communicate your visions successfully?

Effective communication skills will improve your leadership credibility, your self-confidence, your relationships with others, your feelings of belonging and will decrease your stress level.

Your communication skills will also drive change and increase team motivation.

Using those skills, leaders should be pushing a vision for their life, for their family or their organization and it shouldn’t matter whether they have the right relationships, enough money, enough favors, or have hired people with the desired skill set.

24) Are you organized and can you meet deadlines?

Leaders don’t have the luxury to procrastinate because it is similar to self-sabotage. However, they are all subject to it to some extent.

Being organized, methodical, pragmatic will help you gain a sense of satisfaction and will increase your chances of success.

25) Who do you look up to?

It is critical to have a role model who will help you improve, achieve your goals and will show you your life purpose.

Your role model is authentic, relatable and can be a family member, a friend in your entourage or someone you barely know.

26) Can you handle change?

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

Leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise.

27) What do you hate the most and will not stand for?

You can’t always find out what you like but life has a funny way of putting you in front of the things that you hate the most.

28) Can you accept criticism from others?

Accepting criticism implies that you are able to listen, accept people point of view and give feedback as well.

29) Are you becoming too complacent?

30) What do you want to improve on?

 

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

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Bruce Tulgan

authorBruce Tulgan is the leading expert on young people in the workplace, a business consultant, a management trainer and a keynote speaker. Bruce Tulgan is also the co-Author of Managing Anger In The Workplace.

Donald Gibson

authorDonald Gibson is a professor of Management and the former former Dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, Connecticut. Dolan Gibso is also the co-author of  Managing Anger In The Workplace.

Managing Anger In The Workplace by Donald Gibson & Bruce Tulgan

Managing Anger In The Workplace by Donald Gibson & Bruce Tulgan is a self-help book that explains anger and consequences, and provides advice to handle anger in ourselves and in others.

Managing Anger In The Workplace by Donald Gibson & Bruce Tulgan

Understanding Anger

Anger is a normal, natural emotional and physiological response to an attack on our personal safety, on our self-esteem and safety.

Anger modifies our perception, interpretation of events, and affects our communication and behaviors.

Some people aggressively lash out, some withhold and deal with their anger internally, others become passive aggressive.

Anger is difficult to handle in the workplace because:

  • Relationships in the workplace are complex. We spend most of our working hours with perfect strangers, with different levels of power and with whom we thrive to build a trustworthy relationship.
  • Our interests often competes with those of others.
  • Our financial and psychological security is at stake.
  • There are many factors within the organization that are beyond our control, which tends to make us feel vulnerable.

The consequences of anger in the workplace

Anger in the workplace can damage your mental and physical health, your career, your work performance, your reputation and your relationships. In extreme cases, anger can result in violence or even suicide.

Furthermore, anger not only affects individuals life but also negatively impacts those around them. Because they worry about the situation and want to avoid the at all costs, anger reduces their commitment and productivity at work.

People around the angry person experience feelings of “fear, sadness, diminished self-esteem, preoccupation with the conflict, increased caution, and thoughts of revenge”. If the behavior is tolerated by management, people will start to lose trust in their organization and in the capabilities of their leader. From there, a toxic workplace is built.

The benefits of anger in the workplace

Anger is always painted in a negative light but managed properly, it can have a positive aspect to it. To visualize the productive aspect of anger, create a conflictual fictional scenario and think about the possible healthy responses to the situation.

Anger helps to identify conflicts, problematic issues, to resolve them, to demonstrate or create employee commitment and involvement, to generate better results.

Specifically, channeling employees anger can improve the work experience by:

  • Sustaining employees for long intensive hours at work.
  • Augmenting perseverance.
  • Acknowledging change and diversity in opinion.
  • Driving healthy competitions, productivity and quality.
  • Updating policies and procedures.
  • Improving conflictual relationships.
  • Speaking up against wrongdoers and against unfair treatment.

The signs and symptoms of anger

Some people over-express their anger and others under-express it. Both are unhealthy and have long-term negative effects on individuals and on the organization. In order to deal with your anger issues, it is necessary to identify the signs and symptoms of your anger. Expressions of badly managed anger can easily become aggression, can be direct or indirect, active or passive.

In addition, in the organization, expression of anger is either modeled from the higher hierarchy and cascades down the line, is only allowed to high performers with bad behaviors or is repressed to create a culture of polite exchange and respectful relationship.

The source of anger

It is detrimental to focus on the source of the anger in order to resolve it. There are five main sources of anger:

  1. The cracks in the system that make us feel out of control, constantly “threatened and insecure”, frustrated.
  2. Perceived unfairness and injustice in treatment, in salary and in work load within the organization.
  3. Arrested goals because of everyone’s competitive interest.
  4. Difference of core values.
  5. Difference in power. On one hand, subordinates fear the powerful, are angry that the powerful has authority over them. On the other, the powerful appreciates the control and security, is angry when their authority is questioned, generally retaliates when that happens.

Addressing your anger in 6 steps

In Managing Anger In The WorkplaceDonald Gibson and Bruce Tulgan introduce to a six step plan in order to manage personal anger:

  1. Do your best to avoid angering situations and people on a typical day. Also, assess yourself, your relationships and achievements. Then, invest in your well-being and learn to speak to assert your needs and rights.
  2. Detect the early physical symptoms of anger. Then, learn to dissipate your anger with physical and mental exercises.
  3. Anger has a habit of distorting your thought pattern and memory of a situation. It is therefore necessary to calm ourselves down and to logically assess the events.
  4. Gather your thoughts together and the recipient of your anger to disclose the reason for your anger. Don’t hesitate to prepare your speech.
  5. Take action and seek solutions to the situation by changing your perspective and your reactions.
  6. If the situation is not worth your time and energy, maybe it is time to let it go and swiftly move on.

Addressing other people anger in 5 steps

Dealing with someone else’s anger is a whole new territory and is a case by case study. One has to keep in mind the person idiosyncrasies, your relationship with this person, the way that person directs their anger (inward or outward), the level of anger involved, the source of the anger and the personality type of the person.

Also, avoid ignoring the person’s feeling, attempting to control their anger, shutting the person down or overpowering them. Instead:

  1. Master and assess your own feelings of anger.
  2. Identify “the underlying source of anger”.
  3. Schedule a meeting and prepare the conversation.
  4. Listen without interruption but without allowing the situation to escalate.
  5. Take action to reinforce positive behavior, to address the problem and find a solution.

Addressing anger in the organizational culture

Anger is unfortunately inevitable in the workplace. It is important to assess the state of anger in your workplace and on your team, to get people focused on the mission instead of personal differences, to establish a code of conduct, to require model behavior from leaders and to provide anger management classes.

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Review

Managing Anger In The Workplace by Donald Gibson and Bruce Tulgan is a valuable, eye-opening and instructive book, filled with case studies, practical guidelines to understand your anger, to analyze your response to challenges and the dynamics at work, to gradually and successfully handle your anger.

Needless to say, there are so many things that are out of our control, that make us lose our cool: a coworker says or does the wrong thing; a team member doesn’t meet deadlines; your superior yells at you or is unfair to you for no good reason.

Anger is neither good or bad but a natural emotion. Anger in the workplace can open us up to malicious attack where people feel that they can control your reaction or it can create a toxic workplace. That it’s why, it is important to manage and express that anger before it translates into physical symptoms.

This book offers tools and exercises and is genuinely helpful. It was written in 2003 but is still current. It is not an overnight miracle worker but it gives great tips to take discipline yourself, to take control of your anger and monitor your progress.

Favorite quote(s)

anger is a normal, fundamental, and even healthy emotion rooted in our instinct for self-preservation.

In cases where poorly managed anger is routinely tolerated and accepted by leadership, the organization may assume an angry culture, with negative effects flowing up the chain of command covertly and cascading down the chain of command all too obviously.

That’s why anger is often seen as the forbidden emotion. People who express anger are considered to be “irrational,” and “out of control,” two of the worst things that can be said about a person. This is particularly true in organizations, where people are supposed to leave their emotions at the workplace door. What many people don’t realize—or never consider—is that anger in itself is neither positive nor negative. If managed effectively, anger can be a positive and productive emotion.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Bruce Tulgan

Donald Gibson

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