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Who is Questioning Your Leadership Ability?

January 17, 2015

Self LeadershipHave you ever given yourself a leadership check-up?

Successful leaders seldom wait for failure before appraising their leadership skills. In this high-paced work world, it’s important to take the time to reflect on your own leadership development. Reflection turns experience into insight.

The following areas of focus as a leader and relate questions will help you test your leadership strengths and weaknesses. You can then fine-tune your personal development program accordingly.


Position or power does not make a leader successful.

  1. What is your current level of influence within your organization?
  2. How often do others turn to you for direction or approval?
  3. Do you see evidence of your influence with those that work for you and those you serve?
  4. Who influences you and how? What strengths and weaknesses of those around you tend to influence your focus?
  5. In what new arenas can you extend your influence to create needed change or develop a new partnership or alliance?

Personal accountability to constantly develop your leadership skills

Someone can lead for a season based on position power or problem-solving ability, but success in the long run depends on the ability to get along with and develop people.

  1. In what circumstances do you need to improve your listening skills?
  2. How can you discover what motivates those you lead?
  3. How do you engage others in a conversation? Do you do more telling than asking?

Positive outlook

A positive attitude alone doesn’t identify a capacity for leadership, but pessimism will always diminish a person’s leadership potential. The ability to master your own emotions gives you a sizable advantage during crisis situations. Never forget that a crisis is precisely when leadership is most noticed and valued.

  1. When are you most tempted to display a bad behavior?
  2. Who do you know that has a negative outlook? Do you allow their pessimism to influence me?
  3. What kinds of strategies can you carry out when you are tempted to become negative?


  1. How do you make sure you are disciplined in the use of time?
  2. Do you willingly delay gratification to meet worthwhile goals?
  3. Is there observable evidence of lack of self-discipline in your appearance or work habits?

Proven track record and goal achievement

Busyness is not an accurate indicator of success. Some leaders work like crazy or create dependencies for others that ensure constant reinforcement of self worth in the role. Goal achievement and past success of those you supervise is a key predictor of future success as a leader.

  1. What have you accomplished in your leadership role that you are proud of?
  2. Did those accomplishments include others?
  3. How does your experience relate to what you need to be doing today?
  4. Are you willing to continue to put forth the effort?

Team’s problem-solving skills

Many managers are impressed with their own ability to spot and solve a problem. Identifying a problem is easy; just about anyone can do it. Leaders must enable and develop others to solve problems. In fact, when teams are effective at solving their own problems, there is usually a strong leader of the team. Leaders don’t dwell on what went wrong or who was to blame. Instead, they spend their energies on helping the team find a solution.

  1. When you meet a problem, do you think of or dictate the solutions, focus on excuses or do you help others to understand with clarity what the problem is and solve the problem for themselves?
  2. Are people on the team engaged in solving a problem or are you the “go-to” problem solver?
  3. What techniques/strategies have you developed to help others to solve problems?

Refuse to accept the things as they are

Developing leaders value progress over security. Not only are they dissatisfied with what is; they have a vision for what can be. The person who resists the status quo is willing to take a risk, encourage others to see what can be, and pay the price for victory.

  1. In what areas do you feel the need to challenge the process?
  2. Where are you most dissatisfied with your organization’s performance?
  3. When was the last time you took a risk?

Big-picture mindset

How often do you step back to maintain perspective, especially in the face of distractions or pressure? Keeping a sense of direction when the fog of fatigue sets in is a trait of a gifted leader.

  1. When are you most tempted to just live from event to event?
  2. What sort of reminders do you have in place to keep mindful of the big picture?
  3. Who challenges you to keep yourself accountable for maintaining a view of the big picture?

Self-evaluation is not for the faint-hearted. An honest assessment by these evaluation questions is a great start.

Consider receiving more concrete feedback by completing a multidimensional leader talent assessment and administering a 360°Feedback Survey to those above you, below you and peers. You might also consider conducting an organization-wide (for a company, business unit, department or function) effectiveness survey that measures the effectiveness of work management, processes, relationships and leadership within the organization.

The Nielson Group specializes in assessing and coaching using the latest tools. A very popular offering is the Executive Assessment Debriefing where we administer the TriMetrix HD Talent assessment, a 360° Feedback Survey and give a comprehensive debriefing to the leader. A debriefing is usually three hours. The leader also receives an extensive printed report, a custom-built development library and suggested reading materials. A full coaching program is typically six months in duration and involves setting specific leadership development goals and supports the leader in addressing organizational issues as needed.

For more information, complete the following inquiry form:

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