5 Personal Leadership Questions to Ask Yourself

How can you tell if you need to change? You may be going along, doing alright, sans problems, but you know you could be doing better. If you want to keep your personal leadership skills honed, you’ll need to adapt quickly and continually to meet reality. What are five personal leadership questions you can ask yourself to find out where and how you need to adapt?

In reading up about what helps people change, I ran across some research from two years ago about why CEOs get fired. At first it seemed unrelated, but it’s not. Even if you’re not a CEO this study reveals a lot about human nature and how people fail in their jobs. Here’s an excerpt from the press release published by LeadershipIQ:

It’s a commonly held belief that CEOs get fired (or forced to resign or retire under pressure) because of “current financial performance.” But that’s wrong, according to a new study by LeadershipIQ.com.

It found that:

  • 31% of CEOs get fired for mismanaging change
  • 28% for ignoring customers
  • 27% for tolerating low performers
  • 23% for denying reality
  • 22% for too much talk and not enough action

The four-year study reported these results after interviewing 1,087 board members from 286 public, private, business and healthcare organizations that fired, or otherwise forced out, their chief executive.

I’m not sure how scientifically valid this study is, since the numbers add up to more than 100%, and “denying reality” is a bit vague, but I have no doubt “mismanaging change” is a major concern.

The key to personal leadership is to adapt yourself to meet the demands of current reality. Your personal leadership may be a natural strength for you, but you’ll still have to keep it strong. I think these make good questions for anybody working anywhere at any level:

  1. How am I adapting to change in my work, my life, my personal growth?
  2. How do I ignore or minimize customers? Colleagues? Family?
  3. In what ways do I tolerate low performance (either my own or colleagues?)
  4. In what ways do I deny reality (either to excuse myself or someone else?) In what ways do I blame external factors?
  5. Am I all talk and little action? Do I talk a good game rather than win it? Do I put into action the values I put forth?

You may not get fired for your mismanagement of personal change, but it won’t bring you your best year yet, for sure. What other questions should you be asking yourself? I’d love to hear from you.

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