In modern business, an impactful leader is a self-reflective one. Learning doesn’t stop when you lead, and it’s important to look inward for improvement. One of the most effective methods of self-reflection is to ask yourself searching questions and answer them truthfully. The catch is that this requires you to be entirely honest with yourself — even if you don’t like the answer.
But what are the right questions that will encourage you to be better? What should you ask yourself to develop into a more effective leader? To help, these 13 experts from Young Entrepreneur Council share the questions they recommend you ask yourself daily on your path of self-development.
1. Do I Truly Understand My Team?
The one question I ask myself, as a leader, every day is, “Have I invested enough time in the people I’m leading to help understand what motivates them and makes them tick?” I truly believe that the better you know the people on your team, the more successful you are at leading them. – Joe Gagliese, Viral Nation Inc
2. Am I Communicating the Big Picture?
Now that many of us are working from home, one question a good leader should ask is, “Am I keeping an eye on and communicating the big picture?” When working remotely, we don’t have the usual daily interactions with people that help us pull out of our own heads. A good leader, especially in the age of Zoom, needs to be able to pull back from the computer and keep everyone’s focus on the big picture. – Shu Saito, All Filters
3. How Can I Help My Team Excel?
A question every leader should ask is, “What is one small thing I can do to help my team excel?” I recently expressed my genuine and sincere appreciation for the unique skills possessed by members of my staff. The results: from millennials to baby boomers, the staff emphatically appreciated receiving a simple email expressing my appreciation for them. One staff member commented, “It’s good to work somewhere you are appreciated.” – Rodrigo Mora, Silverline Insurance Agency LLC
4. What Will Move Me Closer to My Goals?
Ask yourself, “What’s one thing I can do today that will move me closer toward my goals?” By asking that question, your focus is diverted toward taking small and attainable actions, instead of being overwhelmed by your goals, which could lead to procrastination. Perfection equals paralysis. So, ask yourself that question and take one step at a time, and keep moving toward your goals. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
5. Am I Responsible for the Performance of My Team?
Ask yourself if you consider yourself responsible for the performance of your team? If the answer’s “yes,” then your team will perform better. It’s as simple as that. When leaders take responsibility for collective results, they make an extra effort that never goes unnoticed by team members. When a team leader puts the sweat in to achieve results, it inspires everyone else to do the same. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
6. Who Deserves Recognition Today?
Every day I ask myself, “Is there someone who deserves recognition today?” It’s important to acknowledge someone for a job well done, even if it seems like a small task. Results are built on hundreds of actions. It’s usually easy to notice mistakes, but I try to notice when people are doing well. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
7. How Does This Impact the Customer?
A key question is, “How does this impact the customer?” In the end, it’s the customer’s needs and intent that matter the most. You can use this question as a guide to direct most — if not all — your actions. You’ll become a better leader by becoming a better listener and a problem-solver. Almost every action you take can lead back to the customer. When you serve them, you can grow as a person and a leader too. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
8. Am I Leading by Example?
Ask yourself, “Am I leading by example?” Don’t expect something from your team if you’re not willing to demonstrate it yourself. A leader has to be a role model for everyone else. Get your hands dirty. Do the hard work and become a master of your trade. If the team sees their leader pushing to be the best, they will also want to excel. – Ibrahim Alkurd, New Mine
9. How Can I Improve?
You’re probably used to scrutinizing others’ behaviors, but have you assessed yourself lately? Ask yourself, “How can I improve?” It’s important for business owners to be self-aware and know when they need to do better. That’s the only way to build a company that stands by its values. Look at the ways in which you lack and see how you can do better for yourself and your team. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
10. Do I Invite Others In?
A good question to ask is, “Do I invite others in?” Do you encourage others to collaborate with you as you lead? Do you ask them for their advice, opinion or criticism? Great leaders value the input of others and provide the opportunity for the team to contribute to its success. This question helps leaders stay focused on that. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
11. Am I Actively Listening?
It is easy to tune out when you have organizational objectives and you are working toward a goal, but this rigidity can backfire if you are not listening to clients and your team. Ask yourself if you are truly listening. Listening is the key to good communication and to running a successful business. If you stop listening, even for a day, you could miss critical insights that will cost you later. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
12. What’s Holding Me Back?
I think that growth as a leader happens when you’re constantly tackling self-doubt and fear. The question to ask every day is, “What’s holding me back?” Fear can be a debilitating factor and prevent you from doing amazing things. It can also swallow years of happiness. The sooner you deal with difficult feelings, the better off and stronger you’ll be. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
13. What Mistakes Were Made Today?
All managers should ask, “What mistakes were made today?” and “How can we prevent future mistakes?” Answering these two questions will force you to look at your manager style from a different point of view. As a result, you may notice outdated techniques and strategies. You’ll slowly start to fine-tune your skills and become a better leader. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.