What can you do to be the most effective leader you can be? A Center for Creative Leadership report affirms that relationship management,” that’s, “how you interact with others,” is key to leading effectively. How can you assess how you are doing, and then improve?
Start by asking yourself these ten questions:
- Do I follow through on commitments?
- Do I stay curious in conversations, and listen to others?
- Do I mentor others?
- Do I give tough feedback in straightforward and relationally savvy ways?
- Do I work through conflicts in productive ways?
- Am I clear with others about their role in decisions (for example, giving information as input, giving informal advice, giving a recommendation, or participating in consensus-building)?
- Do I say when I’m wrong, and apologize when I make a mistake?
- Do I explicitly acknowledge others’ achievements and contributions?
- Do I actively promote diversity and inclusion?
- Do I have a reasonable, sustainable work/outside-work balance?
There are many ways to use the ten questions. For example,
- Answer each question using a scale: always, most of the time, often, sometimes, no.
- For every question, ask yourself, how do you know? What information supports your answer? Is there information that contradicts it?
- Get other people’s input. Your leadership coach can do this through 360 degree interviews or surveys.
In other posts, I’ve explained how to use the Learning Compass as a tool for improving leadership. The Compass, a visual representation of the Learning Cycle, brings awareness to your thinking-learning-doing process. As you follow the steps below, notice that you are moving clockwise around the Compass to learn about your leadership and then commit to action.
- First, gather information by asking the ten questions. (Compass Northeast: Imagining)
- Then, reflect on your answers and analyze them by asking, for instance, where am I strong and what are areas for improvement? (Compass East and Southeast: Reflection and Analysis)
- Next, stand back and reach conclusions. What do your discoveries add up to? (Compass South: Thinking and Synthesis)
- Finally, make a plan and commit to carrying it out. (Compass Southwest and West: Deciding and Planning for Action)
It isn’t easy to be a leader. Nearly half of new CEO’s fail. The good news is that with attention, and supports like coaching, you CAN succeed.