Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth leading” but sometimes the toughest person to lead is yourself. Since an unexamined leader is not usually worth following, if you’re in a position to inspire others, remember that the more questions you ask, the better leader you become. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned leader, ask questions to connect with others because this process can help you develop a broader perspective to avoid false assumptions. If the best way to learn about anything – and to develop yourself – is to ask questions, how equipped are you to progress as a leader?
John Wooden, the UCLA Bruins’ legendary former basketball coach, developed seven questions you can ask daily to check your progress as a leader. Ask yourself these questions on a regular basis to ensure you are equipped to lead others efficiently and effectively.
7 Questions Leaders Ask Themselves
- “Am I investing in myself?” – No investment will ever be more important to your development. Your self-investment determines the return you receive from your work and life. Believe in yourself with full confidence.
- “Am I genuinely interested in others?” – Great leaders prioritize the people they lead over any leadership framework. The people they lead know their leader can say yes to such questions as “Can you help me?” “Do you care for me?” and “Can I trust you?”
- “Am I grounded as a leader?” – The Romans staged giant parades to honor their most successful generals, who rode in chariots while everyone cheered. A slave stood behind the general being honored, positioning a laurel wreath over his head to acknowledge the leader’s recent victory. The slave also would whisper to the general, “Hominem te memento.” Meaning, “remember, you are only a man.” Leaders must never think they are better than those they lead.
- “Am I adding value to my team?” – Coach Wooden would ask himself, “How can I make my team better?” Search out your personal answer daily. To improve your team, encourage and support your people.
- “Am I staying in my strength zone?” – To reach your full potential, concentrate on building on your strengths, not on improving your weaknesses.
- “Am I taking care of today? – Leaders must be visionaries who are prepared for the future, but they also must focus on the day at hand, when everything takes place. Strive to make each day your best.
- “Am I investing my time with the right people?” – Pay attention to the people on your team, especially those with the potential to become leaders. Select your team members according to their traits and abilities, such as the capacity to grow personally and professionally, strong values, good character, and so on.