Although everyone has their own perspective on what leadership entails and the key characteristics embodied by leaders, few would disagree that leadership involves the ability to influence people. Many people struggle with how to increase their leadership capacity within their families, work, and communities. I propose that the first step in expanding your leadership capacity is learning to lead yourself better. What are your emotional intelligence, attitudes, and behaviors reflecting into the world? How are you preparing and working on yourself to be a better leader, so you have greater influence with your skills, competencies, creativity, and knowledge? Although self-reflection might be the start in developing self-awareness, an objective self-evaluation may prove difficult. You may receive more useful feedback, when you ask trusted friends and colleagues. Although family can be a source of leadership feedback, the closer the emotional connection, typically the more biased the feedback. The following general questions are examples that should solicit concrete feedback for self-reflection.
- Would you provide an example where you believed I could have had more influence? What could I have done more or less of that would have affected a better outcome?
- What changes should I consider in my general behaviors to achieve greater influence? Would you provide an example where this change might have led to a different outcome?
- When you observe me leading at my best, what am I doing or not doing?
Some people only provide congratulatory remarks and refrain from feedback that could result in “shooting the messenger.” Other people will be caught off guard when you ask such questions and may need time to process and think of specific examples. In this case, schedule a second meeting to receive that feedback. I find if you appear sincere in wanting the feedback for self-improvement, people are likely to provide an honest evaluation.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement. She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org