The Three Questions Every Leader Needs to Ask Themselves

The Three Questions Every Leader Needs to Ask Themselves
June 16, 2017 Linda Murray

sYou’re a great leader. You’re organised and your team is productive, but it’s the middle of the year. The weather is changing. You’re feeling tired and probably suffering from mid-year burnout.

It’s no surprise, considering the constant demands made on your time and talent.

There are three questions leaders need to ask themselves on a regular basis to help avoid burnout.

  1. Am I the best person to do this task?

As a coach, I often speak to leaders about the need to delegate some of the work. Delegation is not a dirty word, nor is it a way to get out of the things you don’t want to do. It’s a legitimate and necessary business strategy that every leader must practice.

For many of us, delegation doesn’t come easily. “If you want the job done right, do it yourself.” This is such an impractical approach. First, it sucks up your time on things that don’t need your special skills or knowledge. Second, it shuts off learning opportunities for the members of your team.

Simply asking yourself the question, “Am I the best person to do this task?” or “if I wasn’t available, who would I ask to do it?” changes your mindset and forces you to analyse what you are doing and how you are spending your time.  Get into the habit of questioning yourself and your actions.

Imagine what else you can get done with the time you free up.

  1. Are you feeling stress?

Studies have shown “80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their co-workers need such help.” Stress affects workers at all levels, and that includes leaders and executives.

Are you feeling stress? Would you recognise the symptoms? These are just a few…

  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Negative thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Aches and pains
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Frequent illness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Drinking too much
  • Avoiding company
  • Bad moods
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Accidents

While it’s normal to have a certain level of stress in your life, it should not be affecting you to this extent. The problem is that we rarely stop to pay attention to how we feel. When was the last time you took time out to think about how you were feeling?

If you are suffering from stress, there are a few things you can do to ease the symptoms.

  • Go for a walk
  • Find uplifting company
  • Find someone to talk to
  • Take time out
  • Get some rest
  • Learn to meditate

It is important to look after yourself, and as leader, you have a responsibility to your team to be the best you can be.

  1. Am I role modelling the best behaviour for sustainable performance?

This is the biggest question of all.

The first two questions are also relevant here because they affect the way you operate at work. Your team members will model their behaviour on yours. If you’ve answered and acted on the first two questions, you will already be modelling some great behaviours. You’ve taught your team members the importance of self-care and of paying attention to the work they are doing.

We know that the human brain is wired to follow the leader and imitate the behaviours they associate with success. Role modelling is a way of demonstrating the behaviours we want team members to copy. Ask yourself if you are behaving the way you’d like your team members to imitate. If the answer is no, identify the changes you need to make so your team can follow on.

Sustainable performance is all about finding ways to achieve peak performance with a happy and engaged team, and a happy and inspiring leader. These three questions will help improve your leadership performance, and will have the flow-on effect of improving team performance, too.

So, what are your answers to these three questions?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences, so please share them in the comments below this post.


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