It struck me recently that, as leaders, we need to apply the hiring lens to ourselves. Like most organizations, at ACHIEVE we choose the people we hire very carefully. We want employees who are committed to working collaboratively, identify with our values, and demonstrate integrity with their actions. Beyond our hiring process, we regularly give feedback to ensure these expectations continue to be a focal point.
As leaders, we also need to intentionally take time to consider our own strengths and weaknesses, assess our values, and regularly affirm our commitment to act in accordance with those values. In the midst of constant pressing demands, it is not easy to pause and evaluate our personal reasons for engagement. But just because this is difficult, does not mean it is not important.
In fact, if we want to continue facing the demands of our work, it is crucial that we take time to evaluate and articulate why we do what we do. If we don’t, we run the risk of losing our passion. This can cause us to resort to micromanaging to get the job done, or we might simply become lackluster in our efforts.
Here are some questions to help us reflect on and self-evaluate our own performance as leaders:
1. What are you good at?
Spend some time thinking about your particular expertise. Consider what you do in your leadership role and how your organization might suffer if it weren’t for your direction. What are the contributions you make to your workplace that are unique? Sometimes it is difficult to honestly recognize your own strengths, so asking a trusted colleague or mentor for their feedback can also be helpful. Or consult an outside resource, such as Tom Rath’s book, Strengths-Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow.
As leaders, we need to apply the hiring lens to ourselves.
2. Who are you are serving?
Consider the influence you have, not only on your team or staff, but also beyond your workplace. Are there companies that are connected with and affected by your organization’s work that you do not directly see or speak with? Who are you impacting? And who are they impacting? These are important considerations which can provide motivation by validating your efforts.
3. What values do you hold?
Name the values that drive your actions. Know what you are hoping to accomplish in the world and why your work matters to you. It is also helpful to identify the positive outcomes you are hoping will come as a result of your work – and it’s even better to write them down. Be clear with why you show up each day from a big-picture perspective. Keeping your long-term goals clear is central to finding satisfaction in the workplace.
When we evaluate our own leadership, we can move forward with confidence that we are making our workplaces – and ultimately the world – better places to be.
4. How can you align your values and expertise with your actions?
Ask yourself if there is a gap between your values and your outward actions. This is difficult because it requires us to name our values and the concrete behaviours that align with them. Our values can then act as a reference point to which we hold ourselves accountable. Aligning inward values and outward behaviours is a key component of honest self-assessment.
When we evaluate our leadership using these four questions, we can move forward with confidence that we are making our workplaces – and ultimately the world – better places to be. And nothing sustains motivation more than having a positive impact on those around us!
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