How Do You Know If You Are a Good Leader?

How do you know if you are a good leader?

Do you think bad bosses think of themselves as “bad leaders?”  Or are they just unaware of their current state?

Super-Hero-Professional

If you answered “unaware,” I agree with you.  But then that begs the question, “What if that was me?”  What if I am that bad boss, bad parent, bad spouse, bad president, bad mayor, bad pastor?  What if my leadership stinks, and I think I actually have no problem.

As you read this (and as I write this), our neuronal pathways are doggedly and tenaciously refusing to even entertain the possibility that this could be you (or me).  But let’s break the news to both of us…it could be.

I am sure you can relate and think of someone you know who has absolutely no idea that their leadership is terrible.  Either way, we wish they knew.  And more than that, we wish they would do something about it.

So in this blog, I just want to focus on you and me.   Let’s assess our own leadership.

So, how do you know if are you a good leader?

To assess our leadership skills, we have to answer two basic questions:

  • What makes a good leader?
  • How do I rate on those metrics?

So here it is.  I want to give you seven areas to rate yourself.  You may have heard these principles before, or maybe not.  Either way, I want you to honestly evaluate yourself and have three other people (or more) in your inner circle (preferably people you lead, or aim to lead) fill these out for you.

1. The morale of my team is AMAZING.  This is straightforward.  Here is a list of six steps I have taught on how to evaluate where your people are from a morale standpoint.  How many of your team members are at level 6?

  • Rebel or Quit
  • Malicious obedience
  • Willing compliance
  • Cheerful cooperation
  • Heartfelt commitment
  • Creative excitement

Now rate yourself:

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

2. The vision is AWE-INSPIRING.  Think Braveheart.  Think Gladiator.  The characters in these movies had inspiring visions.  I would have followed them.  What is the vision for your team?  Regardless of the size of your team make the size your dream inspiring.   Regardless of your position in the organization, as a leader you need to make an inspiring vision that pervades the essence of your team.

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

3. My team LOVES me.  Yes love, not just respect, not just like.   Leadership is about people coming together around an inspiring vision and a caring leader.   It is rare that I watch a sports championship team, where the players do not talk about their coach in the warmest terms – that he cared for them as a person first – and some (even rugged masculine players) say “I love my coach,” sometimes with a tear in their eyes.   For those who work with me I want nothing less than their heart.  And I aim to give them mine!  LOVE…

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

4. We are PRODUCTIVE.  It is great to have a team that feels good about each other, about the leader, and about the vision.  But do you as the leader insist that we get to our destination?  Is it your persistent expectation that you see success, see that the goals are consistently met?

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

5. I am GROWING.  There is nothing worse than a leader who is not becoming better, a leader who is not learning, challenging himself, and demonstrating a continual effort for self-mastery.  When a leader does not grow it gives people a sense of hopelessness.  They think (and correctly deduce) that they will not do better as team.  The leader is usually the lid to the team.  Are you on an aggressive growth plan?

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

6. My people are GROWING.  When I see a leader investing in his or her people, I know something amazing is going to happen.  That tells me that the leader cares enough for them, and that he or she values personal growth – it tells me that excellence is part of their values.  If people are stagnant, the team is usually stagnant.

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

7. I am LIKEABLE.  Likeable!  So many people are simply trying to lead people, but are just not likable. They are either annoying, self-absorbed, unprofessional, not empathetic, dress in a weird way, hug you or tap your back in a strange way – just simply not likable.  If you want to be an effective leader, make sure you have the basic requirements to being a likable person.   People will not go with you far if they don’t like you.

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

8. I make sure we have strategy.  So many teams have an amazing vision, but fail when it comes to strategy.  Yes, you and your team will fail if there is no plan that leads to the end goal.   More importantly, if there is a plan and it is not executed, then it’s useless.   As my friend and business advisor Michelle Smeltzer always asks me, “What is your strategic road map?”

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

9. I define and protect our values.  What are the foundational principles that our relationships and actions are built upon?  Are those clear to me as the leader and to everyone else on my team? It is your job as the leader to make sure these values are defined, clearly stated, and practiced by everyone, starting with you!

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

10. I strongly guard our culture.  Ultimately, it’s the culture of a team or organization (or family) that will determine our success and define who we are as a group of people.  For example, if Apple has a culture of innovation (producing great products like the iPhone), this is more than a policy or a strategy, it’s part of the fabric of the company.  And it is ultimately the leader’s responsibility to guard it.

1 – Terrible   2 – Bad  3 – Average  4 – Good  5 – Amazing

Have the courage to face your team – those closest to you.  Have them fill this out.  Then let them speak into your life.  And when they do, remember just listen, don’t argue or defend.  LISTEN TO THEM.  And then say “thank you.”  Period.  You don’t have to do what they say.  Just listen calmly and graciously, and then go think about what they say.

So many people wish they could be honest with their leaders – but they won’t unless they are aggressively invited.

So invite them.  I will do the same…

Let’s be better leaders!

Your friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

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