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Ask 10 Questions to Ignite Effective Leadership

We all hear the word “leadership” but what really makes a great leader? What does great leadership look like in practice vs. theory?  We could talk about differing leadership styles, but that does not get to the heart of great leadership.


Leadership is certainly not limited to CEO’s, Politicians, Business Owners and others with alphabet soup behind their name.


So where does great leadership begin? It starts with YOU!


We cannot be effective leaders if we don’t learn to lead ourselves first.


Whether you want to be a more effective parent, partner, business owner, manager,  community leader, or politician, it starts with learning to lead yourself well.


Learning to lead yourself requires intention and high emotional intelligence; the ability to consistently be aware of and manage your own emotions, and read others’ emotions and respond appropriately.


Self control in particular- the ability to talk out rather than act out your emotion is essential regardless of who you lead and where. This matters greatly in how we show up in all of our relationships.


Easy to say, but for some, exerting self control (or self regulation as we call it in the mental health field) is much harder to do.  Think of the last time someone cut you off in traffic.  Were you the poster child for self control in that moment?


Self regulation can be learned- it requires learning new tools and then practicing them daily at home and at work.


 Additionally, these practical questions to ponder can help in the quest to up your leadership game.  Take time to do an introspective deep dive and ask yourself the following:


1.     Am I Leading with Heart or Ego?  Examine your motives for leadership roles you have taken on.  Am I in this position because I like the perks, or because I truly want to make a difference? Do I have a heart desire to influence people’s lives for their good and the good of the organization?

2.     Am I Practicing Controlling My Thoughts? One of the most important attributes of great  leadership is the ability to check in and manage your own thoughts.  Learning to question your thoughts for accuracy is key.  Consider, is the way I’m thinking about this person or situation accurate and beneficial?  Am I dwelling on thoughts that are not helpful- leaping to assumptions or conclusions?

3.     Am I Beginning with the End in Mind?  Do I have clarity what the best outcome of a situation might be? Am I able to identify what other acceptable and beneficial outcomes might look like?  Am I able to let go of how I think something or someone should be?

4.     Am I Remaining Open and Curious?  Great leaders ask questions and are able to listen to both feelings and facts.  Staying open and curious allows you to zoom out with a wide lens to understand and see the big picture of a situation or issue. Am I showing up curious?

5.     Am I Communicating in Ways that are Trustworthy? Since communication is the lifeblood of relationships, am I regularly checking in with people that my communication is honest, compassionate, and straightforward? Can people trust that my yes means yes and my no means no? Are my words and actions congruent?

6.     Am I practicing a Growth Mindset? Having a growth mindset is a choice. It involves finding the balance between appreciating your collective experiences, wisdom and skill set while willing to learn more.  Ask yourself, do I fall into complacency or fixed thinking, or am I able to embrace growth as part of a lifelong personal and professional journey?

7.     Am I showing up as a Psychologically Safe Person? Am I someone who can stick to the issues at hand without engaging in character assassination; ridiculing, demeaning or demoralizing another human being to get what I want, or to inflate my value and worth to others?  Am I someone who acts with humility and is able to share my truth with compassion?  

8.     Am I Exemplifying Good Character?  How do I make decisions? Am I factoring in what is ethical and beneficial? Am I fair and equitable in how I approach people and situations?  What choices do I make when no one is looking or holding me accountable? Do I sleep well at night?

9.     Am I Taking the Time to Listen?  Do I ask meaningful questions and then really listen to the answers?  Do I include and value other voices and opinions besides my own?  How do I incorporate feedback into my decision making?  Am I actively listening by being fully present?

10.  Am I Clear on My Mission, Vision, Purpose and Core Values? 

Do I revisit my mission, vision and purpose regularly? Am I communicating this to the people I lead? Are people embracing my (and the organization’s) core values?  Are these    values woven into the fabric of the entity starting with me?



In our families, communities, businesses and in our country, effective leadership is imperative if we are to thrive.


A title or position does not make a leader.  It takes heart and these qualities to excel at leadership.


We all have a responsibility first and foremost to lead ourselves in ways that allow others to experience us as safe, stable, and trustworthy.


Since we can only ultimately control ourselves, it all starts with the person in the mirror!



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