Your Leadership Is A Seed
Evaluate and Improve Your Leadership
A question we often ask leaders is, How do you know whether you are effective? Evaluating your own leadership style, and its attendant strengths and weaknesses, is crucial to getting the most out of your leadership. The sections that follow will get you started on the process.
Evaluative instruments such as Myers-Briggs can be useful tools in determining leadership efficacy. They can help us understand our work and leadership styles and often offer tangible results that enable us to work toward self-improvement. However helpful they are, though, these instruments are costly resources that not every school or leader can afford.
An alternative and inexpensive means of self-evaluation is to keep a journal. Simply recording daily interactions and the events leading up to your decisions—and then revisiting them a little later—can provide remarkable objectivity and clarity with regard to your leadership.
The unexamined leader is a stagnant leader. If your team is at a standstill did you plant this seed?
The purpose of journaling is to reflect on what you have done to better understand what you should do in the future. If you are unable to find the time to journal, then set aside some time each day to answer the following questions:
Did you identify the desired outcome before taking action?
Was the actual outcome the best possible solution?
How effective was the method you used in reaching the outcome?
If it was not effective, what could you have done differently that would have helped you reach a better outcome?
Are you able to repeat your effective behaviors to get similar future outcomes?
What are you willing to do differently in the future? What must you do differently in the future?
Who were the others involved, and what were their positions, interests, and stakes?
What really happened, or what was the subtext of the situation or conversation?
While we are in the moment, we are often unaware of how we are thinking, talking, acting, and leading. In our experience, effective leaders find the time to look back on the day's events while simultaneously looking ahead to what they will do in the future. Reflective practitioners analyze the uniqueness of a problem confronting them, frame the problem in ways that structure its intelligibility, think about the results of their actions, and puzzle out why things worked. These steps help them "build up a reservoir of insights and intuitions that they can call upon as they go about their work.
A no-cost leadership evaluation approach is to talk to those whom your decisions directly affect. If you feel secure enough to put yourself in this vulnerable position, then surveying your staff is one of the best ways to get meaningful feedback. Just be ready to discuss and respond to their comments. If you don't want to seriously consider the feedback, then don't bother asking for it in the first place.
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