Do you have the discipline it takes to be a leader? It isn’t easy and takes energy every single day to lead. You can’t just call it in—you are setting the example for the entire team EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do you prepare for upcoming meetings? I once worked for a person who did not take the time to prepare for anything, believing she could ‘wing it’. She didn’t read background materials to prepare for the meeting, she did not take the time to prepare for her portion of the meeting, and she did not talk to the people who had background information needed for the meeting. She didn’t even look at the notes from the previous meetings so she could remember what she had committed to do. Employees would roll their eyes and think “What a slacker”.
Do you follow up on commitments you make? We all know that the road to hell (and failure) is paved with good intentions. Do you write down and actually do what you commit to do? Do you schedule time in your day to accomplish what you say you will? Or do you just make excuses or apologies for not doing your work?
Do you actually address problems when they arise? So many leaders I work with find every excuse in the book to let problems slide. How do I know this? I hear it from their disgruntled employees who end up suffering because their boss doesn’t take the time to resolve stupid (or toxic) things that are happening.
Do you plan ahead? What are upcoming deadlines and/or opportunities that need attention? Are you paying attention, or letting things drop? When there are time-sensitive actions that need to be taken, leaders need to be cognizant of what is looming and take action so that opportunities don’t pass them by.
Are you proactive and strategic in scheduling meetings? Who are the people you need to be talking to or meeting with? Do you reach out to them and make sure those conversations occur? Do you make sure the right people are aware of decisions and actions before they occur? Again, opportunities can be lost if the groundwork for those opportunities has not been built in strategic meetings.
Do you take the time to think and plan strategically? Leaders need to be able to think big and look into the future, as well as take those big thoughts and break them down into actionable tasks that can be delegated or put on your own calendar.
Do you regularly meet with your team and provide useful feedback? So many people I work with tell me they have not had an evaluation for several years! Providing feedback, updates, and transparent communication helps your team know what you are thinking and how you would like to move forward. It also indicates that you care about your team members. Communication is one of the big things that is easy to let fall through the cracks.
Do you take care of your personal life so it does not regularly interrupt your work day? We all have emergencies and last minute crises. However, when these eat into your work day regularly you may not be paying attention to creating a smooth-running personal life.
Are you sick a lot? It takes discipline to eat right, exercise, get the sleep you need and just overall stay healthy. Do you come into work regularly with a hangover or a headache? Your body is your instrument, and you can’t be a good leader if you are not able to manage your own habits.
Discipline is no fun. I get it. But that’s why you get the big bucks. If you do not have the discipline to push things forward, perhaps you need to rethink your willingness to be in a lead position. Trust me—it isn’t for everyone!