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Taking an Inventory of Your Leadership Skills
By Timothy F Bednarz

Sound leadership includes continually and objectively taking inventory of oneself. This is not as easy as it appears, because leaders inherently have high levels of self-confidence and often believe they are strong in most areas relating to their leadership role.

Even though this quality is important for leaders to fulfill their role effectively, it often obscures specific areas needing improvement.

When leaders honestly assess their performance, they will set goals for improvement. By responding to precise questions in six specific categories it becomes easier to determine areas for improvement that might otherwise be overlooked.

These areas and questions need to be addressed carefully in order to improve one’s performance in their leadership role.

It is important for leaders to honestly evaluate themselves in the areas of:

  • Establishing a core belief system
  • Prioritizing tasks

  • Developing methods for monitoring workplace progress

  • Giving clear and detailed instructions

  • Promoting responsibility

  • Improving the overall workplace environment

In order to pinpoint specific areas of strengths and weaknesses, print out the following evaluation areas and questions and write “yes” or “no” before each number.

Establishing a core belief system

  • Do you continually prepare your employees for impending changes by effectively discussing and defending why they are necessary?
  • Do you review procedures and results with your employees on a regular basis?

  • Do your employees know where your direction is taking them?

  • Do your employees understand why it is important to achieve set goals?

  • Do your employees understand and accept established standards for performance and are they complying with workplace rules?

Prioritizing tasks

  • Are your priorities flexible?
  • Do you model the importance of organizational skills to your employees?

  • Do you set daily priorities?

  • Are your employees a daily top priority in terms of their needs and concerns?

  • Do you take an active role in helping employees prioritize their tasks and assignments?

Monitoring workplace progress

  • Do you keep daily records and check off items that move workplace progress forward?
  • Do you have at least one weekly meeting to discuss performance progress and/or timeline implications?

  • Do you consult with individuals that need to increase overall performance on a regular basis?

  • Are you able to determine reasons behind a lack of performance in most of your employees who aren’t meeting expectations?

  • Do you motivate using various leadership styles that meet specific individual needs?

Giving detailed instructions clearly

  • Are you allowing adequate time for discussions, asking questions and addressing particular concerns and specific issues that arise?
  • Do you address all the “why’s, how’s and when’s” of assignments and tasks?

  • Do all employees understand why particular procedures are necessary?

  • When plans, goals and objectives are detailed, are they completely understood by all involved?

  • Do you listen to employees carefully and anticipate potential problems or complications in assignments or tasks and take appropriate action before they actually arise?

Promoting responsibility

  • Do you give adequate feedback to employees to build development of responsibility?
  • Do you use motivational techniques to help build the desire to accept responsibility in your employees?

  • Do you assign tasks and responsibilities equally among all employees?

  • Do you encourage your employees to take risks without fear of negative consequences?

  • Do you delegate responsibilities whenever possible to the most qualified individual?

Improving the overall workplace environment

  • Do you celebrate individual successes, great and small?
  • Do you put forth daily efforts to make assignments and tasks more enjoyable for everyone involved?

  • Do you encourage cooperative efforts and input in planning the goals for the direction you wish to take?

  • Do you work to stimulate creativity and “out of the box” thinking?

  • Do you make sure to give each employee one-on-one time throughout each week?

Excerpt: Leadership Roles & Responsibilities: Pinpoint Leadership Skill Development Training Series by Timothy Bednarz (Majorium Business Press, Stevens Point, WI 2011)

Timothy F. Bednarz, Ph.D. is the author of the 125 books included in Pinpoint Skill Development Training Series. He has also authored “Great! What Makes Leaders Great,” which was selected by “Foreword Review Magazine” as one of the top ten career books published in 2011, as well as a finalist in the “2011 Foreword Review Book of the Year Awards.”

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