In my experience, the answer to that important question is found in the answers to several other critical questions. There are a lot of good questions leaders need to answer in order to be successful. Here are what I consider to be the top five key questions for any leader who wants to be more effective and successful.
1. Do you attract and retain talented people? Most successful businesses are not one-man-shows. What is it that attracts high caliber individuals? Would you work for yourself? Great leaders inspire followers, and really great leaders continue to inspire—they keep their people with new challenges and new opportunities.
2. Do you challenge people to think, to grow and to change? Great leaders aren’t content with the status quo. They continually work to improve themselves, their business, and their people. “Business as usual” is not part of their vocabulary.
3. Do you push people beyond their talents/skills/abilities? Many people settle for less than their full capability because they don’t really know what they’re capable of. A great leader helps those around him find that “something extra” hidden inside. Think of the individuals who have “pushed” you in that way: parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors. They knew you had it in you and they helped you bring it out.
4. Do you ask tough, focused and specific questions that encourage spirited and rigorous debate amongst your team? Too many businesses leave too many unanswered questions on the table because they’re tough to answer. The key here is not to prove who is right or wrong—it’s to solve a problem. As a leader, your goal is not to browbeat team members until they agree with you—it’s to find the best possible solution.
5. Do you empower people to take personal ownership, personal accountability and personal responsibility to do their very best? As a leader you may have the right ideas, the right solutions, and the right methods. But unless your team takes personal ownership, responsibility, and accountability for those things it will always be your show—and you won’t be effective. What can you do to help team members own the business themselves?
Are there more questions leaders should be asking? Sure. But these are my top five. What would you add to this list?