by Steve Adubato, PhD
On a recent episode of “The Apprentice,” one of the contestants for another Donald Trump “dream job” was asked by Trump if she considered herself a good leader. They were in the boardroom, and of course contestants were trying to defend themselves. The answers were predictable. “Of course I’m a good leader.” “People like and respect me.” “I give clear direction.” “Yes, I AM a leader.” We’ve all heard these things before.
The funny thing is, most folks consider themselves leaders of one sort or another. But leadership is not an absolute thing. It is not black and white. Some days we are better leaders than others. In fact, we demonstrate superior leadership on one specific task and a short time later we fall on our face when up against another. Leadership is a relative thing and the really great leaders are constantly engaged in self-examination and finding ways to get better.
With this in mind, consider the following questions that will help you measure your individual leadership ability. And don’t just answer yes or no, instead, use the following scoring system; four is always, three is most of the time, two is rarely and one is never.
--I give honest feedback to my workplace colleagues, whether I like them personally or not, because it is in the best interest of our team.
--I am open to feedback and constructive criticism from others at work regarding my performance and behavior, even if I am not enamored by the source.
--I take risks and propose new and innovative ideas in meetings when our team seems stuck on a particular issue or challenge. Simply put—I speak up when my team needs me.
--When things do go wrong and mistakes are made that I’ve played some part in, I step up and take responsibility for my actions.
--When things go right, I aggressively seek to identify others who deserve credit, even slightly over-stating their contribution because I know how important it is that professionals feel they are making a contribution. In the process, I even understate my role, because drawing attention to myself may not necessarily help the team.
--I give clear, concise direction as to what needs to be done and why. I state our goal as well as the consequences for failure in ways that leave little doubt as to what the real picture is.
--I seek to monitor and coach colleagues and team members because I see their professional development and improvement as critical to our workplace’s overall success.
--I stay calm in a crisis, even if there is a strong part of me that does feel anxious, nervous, uncomfortable or even angry. I understand that how I react to this type of situation communicates a powerful message to those around me as to how all of us should act when things don’t go exactly as planned.
--If someone (including a top leader in my organization) did something that was either ethically or morally wrong in order to gain a competitive advantage, I would step up and make it clear how I felt, even if it jeopardized my professional status.
--When two colleagues or direct reports are engaged in an unhealthy or unproductive argument, or are simply not working well together, I take the initiative to sit them down and identify tangible ways for them to work together more effectively, even if it is uncomfortable and a genuine pain in the neck.
There are ten questions, therefore, 40 is the highest score you can get. That would mean that you are a nearly perfect leader, which no one is. What did you score?