Six Key Questions Leaders Should Ask Themselves

look at yourselfAs I mentioned yesterday, last week I spent some of my "Power Pause" time attending the 2015 Global Leadership Summit. Over the course of those two incredible days - the phrase "taking a sip of water from a fire hose" comes to mind - six themes emerged. I'll delve into each speaker's thoughts individually, however, put together, these six themes quickly become key questions we leaders should be asking ourselves on a daily basis.

Do I Cast an Inspiring Vision? Jim Collins calls them Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGS). The GLS calls them Grander Visions. I call them Big Thoughts. Whatever you call them - are you casting an inspiring vision that requires greater collaboration, greater sacrifice, greater commitment?

Can I Handle Feedback? Have you ever had someone ask, “Can I be honest with you?” or “Can I give you some feedback?” and you got that lump in your stomach? You're not alone. Done well, feedback is a powerful motivator, done poorly it can crush your soul. As a leader, can you handle feedback, both the giving and the taking? Can you see yourself clearly?

Am I Resilient?  An inevitable part of your leadership journey is failure. But it's not the failing that makes the difference in a leader. It's the getting up again. It's the lessons learned. It's the willingness to fail for the right reason. Did you fail because you didn't plan, didn't prepare?  Did you fail because you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone? Did you fail because succeeding would have compromised your integrity? Some of these are the right reasons. Some are not.

Do I Serve? Servant leadership is one of the most over-referenced, least understood concepts in business today. Giving power away, serving those around you, and sacrificing for the greater good are all antithetical to traditional power structures. But how can we expect our followers to serve and sacrifice for our vision if we are not willing to serve and sacrifice for them?

Am I Being Effective? Leadership is a delicate balance of giving and taking. It's about expanding your influence while protecting and growing your greatest resources: your confidence, your connections, your competence, your character, and your commitment.

Am I An Agile Learner? Are you a "been there, done that" leader or are you willing to acknowledge that you don't know everything -- that learning can happen at any time, from any one, anywhere?

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