Deepening Your Self-Awareness as a Leader: Asking and Answering Powerful Questions

This brief leadership inventory offers certain powerful questions, which will, if answered with care and honesty, stimulate your professional and personal development. The goal: To promote reflection and self-awareness so that you can become increasingly effective and capable of truly transformative leadership.

Don't be concerned about answering every item in order. Take your time going through them; they do not have to be answered in one sitting. If you get stuck on one, leave it and come back to it later.

The Big Picture

In not more than ten words, how would you define your life purpose? What is your place in the world? What are you here to do? What is your greatest contribution?

What is the story/narrative of your leadership that you would like to tell three years from now that best describes the impact you will have had on those around you?

Gaining Perspective and Self-Awareness

What are the distractions that prevent you from committing yourself fully to present work challenges and to non-work/recreational opportunities?

How well are you able to get on the balcony in order to observe more objectively what is transpiring around you? How often do you pause to reflect on the inspirational people and events in your life?

What excites you? What angers you? Under what circumstances do you need to learn to take a deep breath and step away in order to regain some broader perspective?

How many identities do you carry simultaneously? (Think about the multiple identities at work, at home, and other settings.) Name them. How do you manage them simultaneously and integrate them in a constructive and even synergistic way?

When faced with stressful and challenging issues at work or at home, what strategies do you employ to remain calm?


What can you do to demonstrate to your constituencies that you are a person of character who can be fully trusted?

How do you embody Jim Collins’ highest level of leadership (that unique blend of humility and zeal for the cause)?

How might you see your life as a leadership lab (trying on new behaviors, taking risks and being wiling to make mistakes, interrogating your experience)? How can you maintain the habit of being a lifelong learner?

How can you develop yourself as a leadership athlete? Do you value practice, training, and coaching? Do you harness your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energies? Are you constantly trying to expand your skills to increase effectiveness and capacity to adjust to new situations and realities?

Part II