To be successful, leaders must take a personal leadership check-up. This isn’t something that is boring or time consuming. A leadership check up involves taking a few minutes to reflect and understand your leadership skills, your opportunities, where you’re going, and where you want to be. It’s like preventative care and maintenance for leaders.

Check Your Vitals

To start, ask yourself:

  • How am I interacting with others in relation to the core values of the company?
  • How am I perceived in staff meetings?
  • When I leave voicemails, do they communicate what I want them to? How about my e-mails?
  • Am I a person that is known for being trustworthy? Do my words match my actions?

I don’t know about you but I’ve found these personal development questions can be quite inspiring and provide a daily focus in which to improve my leadership skills. Yes, it takes a daily “check up from the neck up” (Zig Ziglar) to become the best at what we do.

Check Your Growth

Leaders must be willing to make changes within themselves. They must be able to scrutinize themselves objectively and admit when what they’re doing is just not working.

Ask yourself:

  • In what areas do I need to develop my skills so I may personally grow?
  • What are my talents? What areas of leadership do I need to leverage?
  • How can I more positively influence the people around me?
  • Overall, am I acting on my personal leadership goals?

A large part of being a successful leader is looking toward the future.

A leader is always a few steps in front of what’s going on right now, planning for what comes next and trying to pre-empt any problems that can pop up on the horizon. To continue with this foresight, there is but one question that leaders can ask themselves, and it’s something that they should think about every day:

What’s the most valuable thing I can do right now to stay ahead of the curve?

Check Your Influence

After checking your vitals and growth potential, the last part of the check-up involves your team development skills.

  • Am I holding periodic discussions about the company’s core values?

Effective leaders talk with their team members candidly about how their actions align with the organization’s core values, how successful they are as a team at meeting them, and how they can do so more efficiently.

  • Am I increasing communication by talking to others in a common language?

There should be no “manager speak” here. During discussions, everyone should feel as though they are conversing with their equals in plain language that everyone can understand.

Hold monthly meetings to allow team members to discuss their problems and successes in the area of interpersonal communications—not just to discuss task-related priorities.

  • Am I resolving conflicts in a timely manner?
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This can be accomplished by addressing problems or misunderstandings as soon as they arise, and by dealing with them fairly and confidentially.

At a minimum, schedule quarterly team meetings to openly discuss any lingering tensions or misunderstanding that exist and generate team and individual action plans in order to resolve them.

  • Am I encouraging team members to motivate each other?

Leaders make it clear that everyone is responsible for motivation. They encourage their team members to communicate their needs to one another and work on incentives together. This is team building at its best, and it can be a powerful tool if implemented correctly.

  • Am I helping team members clarify their expectations of one another?

In a successful leader’s culture, there are no hidden agendas. No one goes home at the end of the day unsure of what everyone else thinks of them, or scared that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to.

Instead, constant communication about expectations, personal and organizational goals, and rewards lets everyone know where they stand and what to expect.

  • Am I allowing team members to hold each other accountable?

Everyone on the team should know that “checking up” is not just the leader’s job; it’s the responsibility of everyone involved.

A team is only as strong as its weakest member, and it is the job of the entire team to influence that weakest member to succeed. Anything less works against productivity by creating resentment and frustration.

Schedule Your Next Check-Up

Taking a leadership check-up is one of the most important tasks leaders can undertake. Right now, take a minute and schedule your next check-up.

Emphasizing this “people side” of the business and investing in you and the people you work with keeps you ahead of the curve when it comes to sustaining personal and leadership success.

Think About This

There are three general categories of management teams that companies fall under: Scrambling Teams, Old School Teams, and Ahead of the Curve Teams.

Successful leaders set themselves apart in the last category by focusing on their personal development, their personal growth, and their people.

Take a Leadership Check-up

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and founder of the About Leaders community and drMaryKay.com. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained thousands of leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Online course helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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