Six Key Questions to Resolve About Your Own Leadership Practices:
1. How am I positively and negatively impacting the performance of my team members? (You want to push the impact as far to the positive side of the scale as possible every single day. You do this one encounter and one conversation at a time.)
2. What are people telling me (directly and indirectly) about my performance? (It’s often what’s not said that is most important about your performance. Open your eyes along with your ears. Ask a trusted colleague and be ready for a robust answer.)
3. Are people comfortable offering suggestions on how I can help? (Assume that most aren’t…you’ve got to create the opportunities for people to feel good about offering suggestions.)
4. How do people respond to me? Do they shrink or grow in my presence? (If you enjoy the military or royal response from people, you’re leaving performance and talent on the table. Get over yourself!)
5. Are people comfortable raising the tough issues around me? (Beware of developing a reputation for shooting messengers with bad news. Pretty soon, all you’ll get is some highly sanitized and sickeningly sweet version of a false reality.)
6. Do my practices stimulate creativity or drive compliance? (How often are people approaching you with new ideas? How many new ideas moved from whiteboard to action during the past quarter? If you can’t think of any, you’re the problem.)
Ask these questions of yourself regularly, and most importantly, ask your team members and peers these questions and take notes.
Keep a journal of mistakes and successes. Run an anonymous survey with your team members every few months and publicize the results and your efforts to improve. Engage a coach.
And importantly, establish a routine.