Leadership Reflection: Assessing Your True Leadership Potential

Questions to Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Leader

One of the most important skills for today’s leaders is the art of self-reflection. It’s the method by which you can measure and attain your leadership potential through professional development.

Self-development is not only something you must help your people to achieve. It is imperative that you continually improve as an influencer with the soft skills to get the most out of your team.

Self-awareness is essential for a leader to develop the insights needed that help determine strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Only then can you craft a self-development that aligns with the qualities needed to lead your team in the VUCA world.

Three aids for leadership reflection

Exceptional leaders possess high emotional intelligence, leading with empathy, diplomacy, and influence. Leadership and self-reflection go hand in hand, with your ability to monitor and measure your leadership qualities paramount. Here are three aids you should be using as you seek to develop as a leader.

  1. Journaling

Journaling compels you to assess your leadership skills regularly. When filling in a journal daily, reflect on what you have done, why, and how. Consider the responses you received, and think about how those responses might have been different had you taken a different approach.

Journaling helps you identify your key challenges, decide on areas for improvement in your leadership style, and create a plan for your own development.

  1. Periodic self-review

While journaling is done regularly and often (daily is best), another developmental aid is the periodic self-review. Over time, this helps you to collect evidence of your improving skills as a leader, and can also be used to measure other emotional factors like enthusiasm and motivation.

With this method, you set parameters against which you wish to measure your competencies, typically in a checklist format. This helps you to measure progress that may be more difficult to recognize in the journal format with less time between entries.

This type of assessment is particularly useful when you wish to identify your dominant skills and knowledge, and match them to specific roles required.

  1. Feedback

As we discussed in a previous article (‘The Importance of Giving and Receiving Feedback’), receiving feedback is a key skill for leaders. Executed effectively, it will help you to understand how you are perceived as a leader, and is an excellent balance to your own self-review.

It is important that you ask your reviewers to give their honest feedback in writing across the skills you cover in your self-review.

5 Leadership questions to answer daily

There are five questions you should ask yourself daily:

  1. How do I influence others?

Do your people turn to you for advice? Do you influence up and down your organization’s hierarchy?

  1. Do I lead by positive example?

People respond better to positive leaders. Do you remain positive, even in a crisis? Do you see problems, or opportunities? Do your emotions get in the way of a positive response or reaction?

  1. Do I create engagement in the big picture?

As a leader, you are responsible for the big picture. You’re also responsible for engaging your team with it. Do you see the big picture? When was the last time you spoke about your organization’s goals with your team? Do you lose sight of the big picture and get bogged down with micromanagement instead of effective delegation?

  1. Am I disciplined?

You cannot expect your people to be disciplined in their attitudes to work if you aren’t yourself. Do you plan your time effectively? Do you prioritize effectively? Do you help your team to do the same?

  1. How can I improve my interpersonal skills?

Your success as a leader is founded on your ability to get along with others. Do you have a healthy relationship with your subordinates and superiors? Do you listen to others when they are talking? What did you find out about a member of your team today that you didn’t know previously?

Self-reflection – The path to realizing your leadership potential

As a leader, you should never be satisfied with the status quo – and this includes yourself. Self-reflection in leadership is a trait and quality that you should nurture. 

It takes honesty to self-assess effectively. Some of what you discover may be painful. But, as they say, there is no gain without pain. The sooner you begin to form the habit of self-reflection, the sooner you will realize your leadership potential. Get the kickstart you need: complete the Leadership Circle® Self-Assessment today.

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