A sense of self-awareness is one of the greatest traits that a leader can possess. By being able to recognize and address personal areas for improvement, a leader can improve the success of their employees and their company. One great tool for self-reflection is to ask yourself questions. Take time to reflect and give yourself honest, detailed responses. Here are a few questions that all leaders should ask themselves to get started.
What mistakes have I made recently? What have I learned from these experiences?
Making mistakes is part of being human. Yet, due to an immense fear of failure, so many people never take the time to learn from their errors. Leaders in particular tend to feel that mistakes are a sign of weakness or inability to lead. Don’t run from your mistakes and try to pretend as if they never happened. Analyze why you made the mistake in the first place. Create a plan of action to help you avoid making the same mistake in the future. Use your mistakes to become a little bit stronger and wiser every day.
Am I open to constructive criticism?
Leaders often are hesitant to listen to constructive criticism from their employees. For some, pride is the issue. Others may just be afraid to hear what their employees really think about them. Try to put aside your emotions temporarily and just listen to what your employees have to say. The insight their feedback provides may be surprising.
How am I helping my employees do their jobs?
A good leader gives his or her followers the tools they need to succeed. Take note of ways you can help those who work for you do their jobs better. There is a wide range of things you can do – from a simple compliment to providing resources to make their work easier. Try to find a little something you can do for someone else every day to play an active role in his or her success. People respect a leader who isn’t afraid to help and get their hands dirty. They feel important when their boss cares about their needs.
What would it be like to work under me?
Once you become the boss, it is easy to forget what it used to be like when you were the employee working for someone else. Take a step back and consider what it would be like to work for you. Would it be easy or hard to get along with you as your boss? Would you feel that your ideas were valued or unimportant? Would you have everything you needed to do your job and do it right? If you aren’t satisfied with your answers, make the changes to become a leader you would want to follow.
Whom can I reach out to when I don’t know what to do?
No matter how much experience and training you may have, everyone encounters situations where they just don’t know what to do. As a leader, this can feel especially intimidating, since you always have people looking up to you and following your guidance. Build and maintain relationships with colleagues and advisors that you can trust when things get rough to provide you with a new perspective.
Make a habit out of asking yourself these questions regularly. Not only will it help you grow personally as a leader – your employees and business will reap the benefits as well.