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.

Advertisements

The Importance Of Demonstrating Authenticity In Leadership

Being oneself in corporate is difficult. Indeed, corporate is infamous for suppressing emotions, for promoting toxic behavior, for relying on military style hierarchy and for employing an oppressing and commanding leadership style. To humanize the corporate environment, organizations schedule team building events, ostentatious celebratory ceremonies, job satisfaction programs and other vain initiatives.

However, these events only disguise reality, don’t solve employee engagement, alignment and fulfillment, and almost often leave employees feeling alienated and manipulated. Lack of authenticity can easily become boring and even traumatic.

Whereas, enabling authenticity allows corporations to peak innovation, enthusiasm and creativity and to subsequently attract authentic customers.

Wondering how to avoid bending yourself to fit into the corporate mold, to be your authentic self at work, to make employees feel involved and celebrate their uniqueness?

The Importance Of Demonstrating Authenticity In Leadership

In the workplace, we take orders, hide our social lives, form superficial and hypocritical relationships, sacrifice our feelings and core values in order to make a living and to endanger the things that breathes life into us.

For example, leaders feel like they have to act their way through their role, they are unable to use their strengths, to be straightforward, to be genuine or to perform in accordance with their values and ideals. Subsequently, being consistent with their behavior becomes draining and unproductive.

But today, for millennial leaders, job satisfaction, self-fulfillment, authenticity have become a requirement. They are tired of the emotionless, depressing and cold corporate world, are skeptical about capitalism and resistant to the commanding leadership style, seek social progress and equity, voice dissent and unfairness.

That is why places like Google and Apple have come up with new ways to encourage employees quirks and weirdness.

So how to demonstrate authenticity in your leadership, to appreciate authenticity in employees and translate it into the corporation?

Old corporations used to suppress emotions which seemed to lead to rational decisions, to value conformity and an ability to execute orders without questions. Back in the day, being authentic would be a luxury but nowadays it has become essential to success. To be more authentic in your leadership:

  1. Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. Take time off for introspection, meditation and prayer to get to know yourself better, to confront your blind spots and to quiet the noise.
  2. Learn to speak the truth, to be honest with yourself and edit the lies you have been telling yourself for years. Doing so is difficult because most role models on television, in politics, in advertisements, in our lives lie without expecting any repercussion. Hiding behind the persona that you are expected to be at work, at home, with your friends, with your family, with strangers and with people from different backgrounds end up draining you.
  3. Practice being yourself in all situations to build up your confidence. No need to take on a persona all the time. Identify what aspect of your life you are willing to bring at work.
  4. Trust yourself and listen to your instincts. Circumstances should not dictate your choices and decisions.
  5. Accept and love yourself unconditionally. Furthermore, adjust your self-deprecating lens and perceptions of reality to understand your true value.
  6. Find the strength within to do the right thing and build up your integrity.
  7. Increase your emotional intelligence to appropriately deal with your emotions and with difficult situations, to understand the impact of their behavior on others.
  8. Discipline your thoughts in order to focus on your goals and remain consistent through difficult situations.
  9. Be an Essentialist, avoid temptations, stay away from the media and remove distractions. Distractions impedes us from challenging the world and the status quo, from questioning leaders, finding your true inspiration, changing lifestyle. Instead, direct your attention to wise, inspiring and motivating sources.Allow differences in opinions and nurture dissenting voices to spark constructive discussions and innovation.
  10. Respect cultural diversity and difference of lifestyles. For instance, allow creativity, informal clothing and employees with tattoos and piercings. Also, create excitement within your organization and help employees show their playful and fun side to overcome boredom and to increase employee engagement.
  11. Identify your purpose. Purpose is mostly found in times of pressure, when you are forced to examine your life, your values and your walk in life. However, pressure points are not always stimulants. Purpose can also come naturally to you. With purpose, you are automatically motivated and interested in what you are doing and careful about the implications of your work.
  12. Take care of yourself, eat healthy and exercise regularly to properly manage stressful situations.
  13. Give yourself permission to explore different work environments, secure those that bring out the best in you and prosper in the right role.
  14. Stay humble no matter what and stay close to your family and roots. Know that the success of the project and the well-being of your team come first.
  15. Be transparent. Speak your mind, avoid playing games and manipulating your employees. Lead at work the same way that you will lead at home.
  16. Ask for advice and opinions from your colleagues before making major decisions.
  17. Know who your friends are and build deeper relationships in the workplace. Your true friends will appreciate your success, your authenticity, will help you move toward your goal, give good advice and provide different perspectives on one situation.
  18. Find ways to measure and to genuinely celebrate successThis will help to increase job satisfaction and employee engagement.

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.

Detecting And Dealing With Toxic Leaders

Toxic leaders, with different backgrounds, populate television, politics, corporate and decent ones are extremely rare. We have all met the chosen one in the workplace. The chosen one is protected by hierarchy, is more or less competent at his or her job, displays charisma and easily influences others.

However, The chosen one is also arrogant, unscrupulous, manipulative, lacks integrity, lies, deceives gossips freely about people. He or she doesn’t need to excuse or justify himself or herself, has carte blanche to do whatever as long as the organization profits from their behavior.

Wondering why toxic leaders have followers, how to detect and deal with them?

Detecting And Dealing With Toxic LeadersToxicity is the quality of being harmful and poisonous. There are different levels of toxicity and most of the time, the leader’s character and level of toxicity are closely connected.

Toxic leaders have a welcomed home in corporate, emerge from different cultures, take pleasure in seducing, sabotaging, undermining, manipulating, criticizing, intimidating, scapegoating, suppressing their collaborators and own followers, in harming followers physical and mental health and in using fear to get their way.

Furthermore, they lack integrity, awareness, emotional intelligence and core values, are overly ambitious, are arrogant, shift blame easily, see money as power, are blinded by the impact of their actions, are unable to understand occurring problems and difficult decisions.

The reasons why people don’t stand up to toxic leaders

Some leaders behave harmfully without knowing it or without wanting to change. Some leaders acknowledge their poisonous behavior, commit to improving themselves and become exemplary leaders on the long run. Others go from naive and gentle to toxic due to their environment and their followers.

Around the leader, they are different types of followers. There are those who encourage the leader’s negative behavior. Those that ignore and protect the leader’s behavior. Those who just want to work or follow a vision. Those who seek to undermine the leader to safeguard their own position or to take the leader’s position.

Most toxic leaders are difficultly overthrown, are able to successfully retain followers and progress in the corporate ladder. In life and in the workplace, followers tend to stay in negative environments and to rationalize the behavior of toxic leaders because:

  • Leaders have the power to promote and demote their followers, to hire and fire them.
  • Leaders bring financial security, put a roof over our heads.
  • Followers create toxic leaders even if they don’t exist and tend to keep them in power. Bad leaders flaws are generally ignored, minimized or protected to fuel the follower’s interest. As a result, their strengths are highlighted.
  • Followers are afraid of reprisals, of challenging the status quo, of going against group-think.
  • Followers are addicted to the culture of success.
  • Followers are unable to overcome self-preservation.
  • Followers need acceptance from a group, recognition, approval, validation to increase their self-esteem.
  • Followers seek purpose, self-fulfillment and think that the unhealthy workplace will bring them closer to their calling.
  • Followers are relieved that the leader makes the hard decisions and lifts the heavy weight.
  • Followers think of kind and decent leaders as weak and therefore undermine their authority.
  • Decent leaders are not represented in the media. Exemplary leaders are not applauded for their behavior, and performance, even though they are not exempt of weaknesses.

The benefits of tolerating toxic leaders

From the follower’s stand point, there are several benefits from tolerating toxic leaders. Suffering followers:

  • Get to know themselves better, to strengthen their core values, to assess their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Find out their blindspots and the impurities in their character.
  • Learn the behaviors to avoid as a future leader and how to take the high road when things get hard.
  • Become stronger, more resilient and are able to perform under pressure.
  • Have the opportunity to recognize their potential and to emerge while leaders are looking to control their followers.
  • Network outside their toxic workplace and  bond with others suffering followers under the yoke of the leader.
  • Increase their spiritual awareness and grow closer to God.

How to detect toxic leaders?

A nontoxic leader can exhibit a few toxic behaviors and qualities depending on the circumstances. Toxic leaders are hard to detect because they are sometimes able to disguise their negative behavior with benign behavior. To identify them, look out for behavioral patterns, learn the lessons of History and monitor leaders who:

  • Promote themselves by diminishing others, are arrogant, shift blame and lie easily.
  • Manipulate others and make them do their dirty work.
  • Mistreat the most insecure and weakest person on the team, who openly criticize people on the team.
  • Reject constructive criticism.
  • Create conflicts between collaborators, seek to deceive, dominate and eliminate followers.
  • Foster a competitive workplace, where their power and well-being are more important than the well-being of their followers.

How to deal with toxic leaders?

Fighting back is hard but not impossible because toxic leader grow stronger and more resilient per attack. To deal effectively with toxic leaders:

  • Speak out and directly confront toxic behavior. If toxic behavior persists when alone and behind closed doors, recruit help of others and confront in group.
  • Find a trust factor to connect with the leader
  • Mentor or coach the toxic leader. Train leaders to be accountable for their actions.
  • Attempt to quietly undermine the toxic leader.
  • Organize protests against the toxic leader
  • Leave the organization as a last option. When you reach your breaking point physically and mentally, when your performance suffers.
  • Don’t allow leaders to remain in the same position too long.
  • Hire people with character, who don’t seek power and monitor their behavior.

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.

Developing Multicultural Leaders by Farid A. Muna and Ziad A. Zennie

developping

Developing Multicultural Leaders  by  Farid A. Muna and Ziad A. Zennie strives to understand the journey to leadership success, in the Middle East, focusing on work achievements as the definition of success.

This book analyzes and compares Western and Middle Eastern leadership success models and competencies. Additionally, a framework has been developped for leadership success, by identifying to whom, why, how and when leadership success happens, by using diverse scholar findings and by directly interviewing Middle Eastern leaders and managers.

Thorough statics are provided and leaders personal accomplishments and testimonies are shared.

Finally, Muna and Zennie share their perceptions on displaying or grooming leadership skills and qualities. Muna and Zennie, according to their research, state the following:

  • There are five paths of leadership success: culturally sensitive, cultivating emotional intelligence, working hard and smart, training, career development and self-development.
  • Leadership success is obtained with determination, persistency, luck and/or the support of a great mentor.
  • Traveling, working, studying or living overseas has an impact on multicultural/multinational leadership. The qualities of a leaders is also influenced by culture.

Review

Developing Multicultural Leaders is similar to a research publication.

This book is insightful and useful to leaders and managers working in multicultural and/or multinational settings.

It searches for the commonalities of leadership skills, agrees that most people are not born but made leaders and confirms that certain backgrounds provide natural leadership abilites (natural born leaders should continually seek improvement).

Directly interviewing Middle Eastern leaders and managers in the process in addition of incorporating culture as a factor of leadership success made this book much more relatable.

Favorite quotes

Cultural differences, however, lead some people to believe that “if it’s different from my own culture, it is probably wrong.” This ethnocentric view could be damaging to relations whether on the international, regional, or organizational level, and it is certainly counterproductive to doing business globally.

Ratings 4/5

About the author

Ziad A. Zennie

Farid A. Muna

Likeability vs Respectability

Likeability vs Respectability

Hey You!

Wondering whether you have to work on being liked or respected in the workplace? Have your parents instilled in you the following proverb: treat people like you want to be treated?

At the beginning of my career, I believed that to get promoted or to get the job done, one had to be ackowledged by their pairs. I have seen many of my previous managers use their likeability to influence their employee to enhance their performance and reach the goals of the project despite their lack of competence. In addition, many books state the importance of being liked in the workplace (see So Smart But…: How Intelligent People Lose Credibility – And How They Can Get It Back by Allen K. Weiner).

In this manner, I countered my instincts, came out my introvert comfort zone and decided to repeat the same practical career model that I have witnessed.

To put this career model into action, on a daily basis, I:

  • First and foremost, dressed for success,
  • shaked my coworkers hands every morning,
  • put on my Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt face,
  • wished everyone a good morning with a sparkling smile,
  • ate lunch with my coworkers,
  • organized outtings to theaters and comedy clubs,
  • engaged in innovative and interesting topics
  • spoke politely, respectfully and ethically.

To my demise, it wasn’t the corporate culture to be happy (see Signs You are a good fit for your new job) and being liked became a draining full-time job.

I soon learnt that I had to find a balance between likeability and respectability.

Below, you will find the pros and cons of being likeable in the workplace.

Likeability vs Respectability

PROS OF BEING LIKED

  • Ability to influence and/or manipulate people
  • Establishment of an easy and positive work environment
  • Good performance evaluation besides competence mishaps
  • Good reputation and relationship with subordinates and superiors
  • Withdrawal from office competition
  • Acquisition of an honorable status in office politics
  • Avoidance of burned bridges

CONS OF BEING LIKED

  • People are versatile and always changing opinion: wanting to be liked 24/7 is absolutely exhausting
  • Backing out of work related arguments
  • Being exploited and overlooked (for a promotion) because no boundaries have been set
  • Being perceived as weak by your pairs

TIPS ON WORKING WITH YOUR LIKEABILITY

  • Like yourself and put yourself first
  • Learn to say No
  • Quickly remove yourself from negative and abusive situation
  • Being liked requires being nice but don’t trust anyone, don’t expect anything from anyone, don’t expect your niceness to be returned and consider the people that you are being nice to
  • Stand up for yourself and for what is right

 

Sometimes being nice isn’t always the best thing because everyone knows that it‘s so easy to hurt nice people.

Abhishek Tiwari

Below, you will find the pros and cons for being respected in the workplace.

Likeability vs Respectability

PROS OF BEING RESPECTED

  • Ability to influence but not manipulate people
  • Establishment of an efficient and productive work environment
  • Acquisition of a respectable status in office politics
  • Embodiment of the company’s culture and values

CONS OF BEING RESPECTED

  • Existence of conflicts
  • Continuously taking the high road

TIPS ON WORKING WITH YOUR RESPECTABILITY

  • Avoid comparing yourself to your coworkers
  • Avoid competing with your coworkers
  • Avoid impulsive and impetuous behaviour
  • Become an expert on your field
  • Learn how to handle office politics
  • Stay focused and in purpose

It is up to you to figure out if you are willing to pay the price.

Like and Share this post! Don’t forget to leave a comment below. Hope this will help You to get it together on your way to leadership!