Tag Archives: life long learning

Questions for Leaders to ask themselves

In my present role I have a regular question that comes to me from many people: “what do you want to do about this?”.  “This” maybe a number of things – personnel issues, questions on policy, strategic thought, simple decisions around events or visits.  It strikes me that leadership is about making decisions, and good leaders set themselves apart by having clear direction when it comes to those questions.

When I talk about clear direction I don’t mean always having the answer, but knowing how to get to the right answer is imperative.  We sometimes get criticized for not having the answer quickly…well, quick enough for those that are asking.  The truth of the matter is that moving quickly, while a strength, can also be regrettable.  Balance is, in my thinking, the key to decision making.

But there are questions that every leader need to ask themselves.  Donna had some good insights on Sunday around some of those questions – questions on relationships.  So let me reflect on some of those and add others:

1.  How is my relationship at home – with my spouse, children?
2.  How is my heart?  Am I bearing any resentment?  Any bitterness?
3.  Am I fearful?  What keeps me back?
4.  Am I helpful to others?
5.  Do I exhibit an attitude of gratitude? 
6.  Would my friends describe me as a talker or a listener?

7.  Am I a generous person?  Am I willing to share myself, my time, my resources?
8.  Where have I settled for mediocrity?
9.  What’s the best book I’ve learned from and who have I passed it on to?
10. Who do I need to forgive?  When, how will I tell them?
11. Have I told the good people around me how I feel about them?
12. What failure/success has been my greatest and what have I learned from it?

Would you add any other questions?

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Leadership Development

After arriving at Pine Lake Camp yesterday evening it was great to reconnect with Carol and Charles as they led forward the Western Canada Leadership Development Initiative.  It was good to hear the comments of those in the program as they attempted articulate the intense week of learning.  I was reminded of my own experience as I emerged from the first ELDP and tried to put into practise those things which would bring greater effectiveness to my own leadership.

At the beginning of each of these courses the delegates are asked to identifiy their leadership challenges.  Even though this has been a nation-wide event and the delegates have come from every level of leadership within The Salvation Army, the identified challenges are always similar.  As I viewed the list again this week I was reminded that leadership is challenging.

Norm Schwarzkopf once said, “Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.”

One of my favourite sayings is “Leadership is not above you, it’s within you.”   The ability of a leader to accept or own his own circumstances is critical to developing character – or at least demonstrating character.  Leaders who deflect ownership demonstrate a lack of emotional maturity.

This morning I met many great leaders who are developing and are committed to life long learning.  Is there a better sign of leadership?