Let me push into your interior in this Leading Thoughts. Let me probe around in your soul a bit and drive you to greater wholeness. In other words, let me talk to you a bit about your inner life as a leader. To keep this clear and focused, I’m going to give you a list of matters I want you to think about and act on.

  1. Are you able to describe to me what kind of leader you are and how you lead best? If not, you haven’t taken the time to reflect on your leadership style, put that style into words, and thus be able to communicate it to others. Let me give you an example: I lead best when I am the out-front, senior leader but I have a tight staff of strong leaders with gifts that complement mine. There. One sentence. And I’ve used that one sentence to guide me many times. Yet it came largely through reflection and experience—both internal registers. Now, can you boil your leadership style down to a sentence or two? That’s what I’m pushing you toward.
  1. What is your deepest fear as a leader? Can you bring it to the surface? Can you put it in words? Can you express it to your closest associates so they can stand guard for you as you do for them?
  1. What has been your most painful wound as a leader? Can you describe the way it came about, still feel it, but not let it deform the way you lead? Feeling it but not surrendering to it is your goal.
  1. What is your best source of inspiration for what you do as a leader? In other words, how do you feed? Do you have a plan for being inspired by that source? Here’s the goal: know what lifts you and get lifted often.
  1. What or who is the biggest hindrance to you leading well? Are you sure? Then what do you plan to do about it? Take time with this. Ponder. This has to be an inner certainty first before it can lead to an effective course of action.
  1. What is your greatest weakness as a leader? Be sure about this! Be settled about it inside yourself. Then, what are you doing or what will you do to get reinforced in this area? What people are you putting around you or what training are you getting or what changes are you making so you don’t let this weakness deform your leadership?
  1. Finally, what are your five top priorities right now? I mean the five priorities in your life and not just in your firm or leadership. Yes, you can include God and family. Now, are you—as my Southern cousins say— “doing right” by all five? If not, why not? What needs emphasis? How? Take some time with this. Be sure. Then, make changes while asking a friend or two to hold you accountable.

That’s it. Thanks for letting me probe around a bit. I want you to be the best you can be, and the interior stuff has to be right before you can get there.