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The One Question Anyone Leading a Team Should Ask Themselves

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There is one question that has increased my team leadership abilities.

The question is simple, but the self-reflection that comes from it is where change happens.

The one question you should frequently ask yourself if you're leading a team is:


“Would I want to have me as my boss?”


There have been a number of times over the course of my leadership career where I’ve asked myself this at the end of the day and more times than I’d like to admit, I didn’t like the answer. However, it is these times that spurred the greatest growth. By reflecting on how I was leading my team, I examined my strengths and limitations, evaluated my leadership behaviors, and determined what I needed to change to align with my aspirations of how I wanted to show up for my team.

The Importance of Self-Reflection

The practice of reflecting on your leadership is the key to self-awareness. When you’re self-aware you can objectively evaluate your behaviors, emotions, and responses, and reflect if the behaviors align with your values. According to the authors of How To Become a Better Leader, published in the MIT Solan Management Review, they stated that self-awareness is the most important capability for leaders to develop.

Knowing and understanding the impact your actions have on those around you, your leadership behaviors and reactions, along with an analysis of your strengths so you can lean into them and where you have limitations, is essential to leadership effectiveness and overall success as a leader.

Frances Hesselbein, the former CEO of Girl Scouts and author of many leadership books, was once quoted as saying, “Practice self-awareness, self-evaluation, and self-improvement. If we are aware that our manners - language, behavior, and actions - are measured against our values and principles, we are able to more easily embody the philosophy, leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do.”

Learn what skills you need to excel as a leader in the guide to people  management.

 

How Can I Become More Aware of My Leadership Behaviors?

When reflecting on your own leadership behaviors it is a good idea to consult with others to ensure the way you see yourself matches with how others perceive you.

Ask For Feedback From Your Team
Your team can provide a wealth of insight if you just ask. Seeking out constructive feedback from those who report to you is one of the best ways to ensure your perception of your leadership abilities aligns with theirs. If your team feels uncomfortable providing honest feedback, invest in a leadership survey where they can submit their feedback anonymously on your management style.

Work With A Leadership Coach
Working with a trained leadership coach can help you develop greater self-awareness as they help guide you and move you towards your leadership goals. During your time with a professional coach, they will evaluate your strengths and areas for improvement, act as a sounding board when you’re not sure if your leadership behaviors align with your leadership values, and help you create and implement a development plan to obtain the people management skills you need to be the leader you’d want to work for.

Participate In A Leadership Development Program
Leadership training programs are a great option to develop heightened knowledge on the behaviors needed to be a great leader and be equipped with the skills and tools to do just that. When researching leadership development programs, look for one where the training topics align with the areas you’ve identified to develop. An added bonus is if the program includes an assessment to bring greater awareness to how others see you as a leader and post-program coaching to help you implement your new skills back on the job.

 

Conclusion: Leading A Team Requires Self-Awareness

All leaders, no matter their tenure, need to continually grow and change. Reflecting on the leader you currently are as well as knowing where you need to develop, and through that growth and change, you should be able to confidently answer yes to the questions, “Would I want to have me as my boss?"

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