How Well Do I Lead?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO
How well do I lead? As leaders, we need to periodically assess how we are leading. But, how do we do that? What do we look for to tell us how we are doing – and how we can get better at it? As leaders, assessing how we are doing does not come natural. We get paid to get outcomes – usually tangible things like sales, products produced, and financial results delivered. Leadership is usually not a direct outcome. It is hard to measure and assess.
So, what do we do? We can start by being intentional about asking this question of ourselves. We can also ask trusted friends and advisors. When we begin asking these questions it starts a natural process where we become open to knowing the answer. And I have found, if we look for something – we usually find it. However, it may not be the answer we were looking for or it may come in a form we had not anticipated. This is where openness becomes a key attribute of successful leadership. How well do I lead is a question that can only be answered if I want to know the answer.
The second necessary step is to want to change and to become better once we know the answer. It is guaranteed that you will find out that your leadership still needs work. Even those I know who are outstanding leaders (and I have been blessed to know many of them over my career) are typically very humble and desiring to improve their approaches. This is what makes them so special – and effective! In fact, I don’t advise asking the questions if a leader is not committed to both knowing the answer and acting upon it to get better.
The final step is always execution. What do I now do with the information? What changes am I going to make to improve? Who will be impacted by these changes? This is where I suggest you consult a mentor, a friend who is a leader, or a coach. We all need accountability partners – at work and in life. Life is hard and today’s work environment is even harder. Don’t try to do it all alone! The number one cause of failure in change is to do it all alone. Two people are always better than one in a change effort. Trusted partners are the key to excellence. Self-built leaders are a myth.
I have come to believe that we need to always be assessing our leadership if we are truly to be great at it. I have also found that a periodic deeper dive helps us address more fundamental change. Together, these two approaches can help you ensure you become the leader you were created (and want) to be. So, how well do you lead? Are you ready for the answer? Best of luck on the journey!