It is easy to get caught up in the urgency of the moment. There is so much to do in a day that you might be tempted to direct your team’s next actions. After all, being directive gets the job done quicker. However, one trait that successful leaders have is the ability to ask the right questions. There are leaders that give their team the answers and then there are leaders that encourage their team to find their own answers. The leader that can challenge their team by asking the right questions is the one who will build a winning team. The ability to ask the right questions is not a new theory. Several books have been written on the subject and one can easily look up great probing questions that will motivate and ignite critical thinking from your team.
However, we can get so caught up on being an effective leader asking the right questions that we forget to focus on self-leadership. Are you taking time each day to ask yourself the right questions? Successful people ask themselves questions every day. The questions you ask yourself should be in relation to whether your consistent and daily actions are in line with your goals. A constant reassessment is critical in determining if any adjustments need to be made.
Take Time Every Day to Ask Yourself the Following 5 Questions:
1. What do I need to accomplish today?
There are several tasks and focuses that one must juggle each and every day. In the sea of all your deadlines and projects, are key actions that you can take to move you towards your goals. Every day, before you even start, ask yourself what are the 1-2 things that absolutely need to be accomplished today. These actions should be aligned with your key priorities and goals. Make it clear in your mind and ideally, start with those actions first.
2. Who did I impact? Did I help someone succeed?
A leader’s main focus is not in achieving results. No, I am not crazy, it’s true. Your main focus should be to develop your team so that THEY can focus on achieving results. You get results through your people and your best investment is in your team. If you find yourself not being able to answer this question on a regular basis, you should rethink your priorities and how you spend your time. Your ability to develop your team and create that “hunger” and “passion” for results will be the biggest multiplier of your time and success. How can you impact your most important players today? Tomorrow?
3. Who can I recognize?
Recognition is a huge motivator. When employees feel like they are important, that their efforts matter, their level of engagement will increase. In contrast, not knowing where you stand or whether your efforts are profitable, will decrease employee engagement.
“I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval, than under a spirit of criticism.” – Charles Schwab
There are so many priorities screaming for your attention. Take a moment to recognize the efforts and accomplishments of those who work hard to deliver great results.
4. What is the next step I need to take that will result in the biggest step towards my goals?
The first question, “What do I need to accomplish today” is meant to be asked at the start of every day. The question, “What is the next step I need to take that will result in the biggest step towards my goals” is meant to be asked during or at the end of the day. How often do you get to have your “perfect” day? The kind of day that goes exactly as planned. Even the best planners can get sidetracked with urgencies or other priorities. This question is meant to get you to reassess throughout the day what your next most important step should be. How has your day measured up to what you had planned? If you are on track, great, keep going. If you find yourself a little derailed, what should your next step be that will get you back on track the fastest?
5. What have I learned today?
Every new day brings with it a chance for learning and growth. Make personal growth a part of your plan and set time aside every day to hone different skills. Keep an open mind throughout the day and look at every situation through a variety of lenses. You might be surprised at what you will see today that you never noticed yesterday.
What questions do you ask yourself on a daily basis?
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