How do I know if I am a good leader?


Something I've been asking myself a lot lately, which is, how do I actually know if I'm doing a good job as a leader? Is it going okay? Is it not going okay? Is there a sort of barometer or a self-help quiz that I can take, so to speak?

I think it's so important for us as leaders to calibrate and get a sense of where we are and what our progress is. And to be frank, there doesn't really seem to be any barometer. So that's what I wanted to talk about today.

There are, in fact, two critical questions that you as a leader can ask yourself to self-reflect, to deepen your own self-knowledge, and really push yourself to become the leader that you've always wanted to be. And so if you're not sure how well you're doing, start here with these two questions.

The first question to ask yourself to figure out how well you're doing as a leader, if you're being a good leader, is, to what degree do you believe you are seeing the current reality for what it is? Now, the reason this question is so important, this question about if you're actually taking things at face value, if you are truly being rigorous in seeking out the truth, if you are approaching your team members and creating space for them to come with you with honest feedback, the reason it's so important is because it's so easy to sort of create a mirage for ourselves as leaders.

It's easy to say, "Well, oh, you know what? We didn't hit those goals because of someone else's fault." Or, you know, "The reason that this person is underperforming is it's just solely on them." And that may be in part true, but it also may not also be true. And it's really up to us as leaders to figure out and parse and be willing to see the truth for what it is rather than what we want it to be.

This is one of the hardest things to I think self-evaluate as well as a leader. Gosh, you know, how do you get a sense of what reality is when you have your own biases and perceptions? And, you know, we get a little philosophical too about what the objective current reality is as well, but I'm talking from more of a conceptual level of the desire to actually see this reality. That's the critical piece of what is gonna separate you from being a mediocre leader to being a great leader. So ask yourself that question.

Now, the second question you're gonna wanna ask yourself to sort of give yourself a self-test as to whether or not you're being a good leader is this question, which is, to what degree are you creating an environment for your team to be successful? And you're gonna notice that I used a very specific word in that question, which is environment. To what degree as a leader are you setting things up so that the things around your team members, the environment itself, the tools that they have, the resources, the context, the knowhow, that real environment, to what degree have you actually contributed to those pieces?

For example, if you are not doing this necessarily, you're gonna find yourself actually really in the weeds of the work. You find yourself knocking a lot of stuff out yourself. You find yourself owning a lot more pieces maybe than you should. You find yourself sort of saying exactly how something should be done. And that's not the environment. That's in fact the work itself. And so ask yourself this question, give yourself this self-check of, "Okay, am I actually really trying to influence the environment here? Or am I trying to do a little too much of the work itself?" Because that's gonna be the difference between you really being able to level up to be the leader that you want to be.

As you reflect, as you really, I mean, take a courageous step to hold up the mirror and consider if you are being the leader that you know you are capable of being, do come back to these two questions around if you're seeing the current reality for what it is and if you are actually focused on creating an environment versus doing the work itself.

I guarantee you those two questions alone, if you ask that on a regular basis, you'll start to see your abilities as a leader progress even further.

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