The below is a guest blog by J. Israel Greene, Certified Speaker, Leadership Teacher & Coach
People often think that, as a leader, you are supposed to have all the answers. We place our focus on answering every question, rather than on asking the right ones. In order to truly develop your team and give them the best opportunities to grow, there are five essential questions that you should be asking yourself.
- How can I make my team better? This question helps remove the “all about me” mentality and shifts the focus to where it should be: your team. This is one of the best relational questions you can ask yourself, as you will begin to see and learn more about each individual member of the group. Not only ask yourself what you need to know about your team, but also what they’d like you to know about them. As you come to better understand your team’s strengths and weaknesses, you’ll learn to leverage them to help grow your business. Asking yourself this question every day will foster in you a “Listen, Learn and Lead” mentality.
- Am I a good example for my team? My mentor John Maxwell said, “I need to show others for clarity; I need to do it for credibility!” Credibility is a leader’s currency. There’s no quicker way to get a team invested and willing to follow you than leading by example.
- Do I create a growth environment that will nurture my team? Leaders often step in too late when work environments have become toxic. As a result, employees check out and begin to give the organization a fraction of their energy. Find ways to foster a growth environment — put others ahead of you, focus on the future, create an affirming atmosphere, and welcome failing forward. The bottom line is to give people a reason to follow you.
- Do I evaluate how much time I give each team member? While we’d like to allocate equal time to everyone on our team, simply put, we can’t, nor is it wise to do so. We should be operating on the Pareto Principle, giving 80% of our time to the top 20% of our people. Be conscious of the time you invest in your team members and focus on the ones who yield the greatest return. Identify the people who will give you the highest return and invest in them. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the other members of the team, but be judicious with who gets the lion’s share of your time.
- Am I developing the depth of my team? Great teams have great depth. It’s estimated that 70% of people in the workforce aren’t in their strength zone. Think about how to position your players for maximum individual and team growth. Whether it be in leadership, skill, diversity or cohesion, depth is always a goal you should be aiming for. Positioning your players appropriately is integral to finishing the game strong.
While these questions won’t magically make you a successful leader, they’ll provide you with a strong foundation for becoming one. Ask them of yourself every day and you’ll cultivate humility, build better ideas and produce lasting results for yourself and the teams you lead.
“A successful person puts themselves in a position to win. A successful leader puts their players in a position to win.”
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-J. Israel Greene
Certified Speaker | Leadership Teacher | Coach