Are you a good leader?

How do you know if you’re a good leader?

Can we judge ourselves as a leader? What input should we seek?

We explored these questions at The Leaders Surgery this week and it was interesting to ponder what good looks like when it comes to assessing our own leadership.

I reckon it’s a valuable exercise to check in on how we’re going with leadering in all aspects of life – work, home, family and friends.


Because it supports us to lead with and from awareness, which creates understanding that we are in and at choicein how we lead. And that helps us be and do with intention.

I’ve written about leading intentionally before, but unless we have the awareness of where we’re at currently, and the choices we might want to make to show up as the leader we want to be, it’s tricky to be and do with intention that takes us in the right direction.

So where did we get to?

The only person who knows if you’re being the leader you want to be is you.

Whilst there are many 360-degree feedback tools out there to gather data on how other people see you, they are only useful if you’ve taken the time to understand ‘what good looks like’ for you. It’s your internal guide, your compass, your quiet voice that lets you know whether you’re ‘doing well’ or not.

In her book, The Way of Integrity, Martha Beck suggests that ‘When you experience unity of intention, fascination, and purpose, you live like a bloodhound on a scent, joyfully doing what feels truest in each moment.’

So, what does it look like, feel like, sound like for you to live and lead in alignment?

Leading True – the commercial imperative

And if this is all sounding a bit too fluffy for you, understand that living and leading in alignment will make you a better leader. It will mean you have more confidence in your skills, knowledge, and expertise, more clarity in the decisions you’re making, and more motivation to do the often-challenging work of leadering.

In fact, research by psychologist Steven Hayes suggests that shifting our attention to defining our values can “reduce physiological stress responses, buffer the impact from negative judgments of others, reduce our defensiveness, and help us be more receptive to information that may be hard to accept.”

More aligned not more work

And this doesn’t mean work harder.

The problem isn’t that we’re not working hard enough. It’s that we’re not working on the right things; things that are deeply aligned with our natural inclinations and truth.

Society and culture dictate ‘what good looks like’ and we fall into the trap and fall into line. The noisy cries of ‘shoulda… coulda… woulda… ’ on our internal radio mean it’s hard to hear our quiet voice of true and we end up doing what we’re ‘supposed’ to do, meeting external expectations and living and leading in obligation. All driven by the forces of trauma and socialization.

So rather than focusing on what you think you want or need to achieve, allow some stillness for you to feel what it is you yearn for, to listen to your quiet voice of the leader you know is true you.

It’s from that awareness we make choices about how we show up moment to moment and what we do with intention.

And I reckon that’s what good leadering looks like.

Until next time…

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