Monday, September 7, 2015

7 Leadership Questions

Similar to the core leadership qualities are Jim Collins' seven questions for all leaders. At a recent leadership summit, Collins talked about what he learned when he taught at the West Point military academy. As he taught and watched the cadets learn valuable leadership skills they would be applying in their near future, he realized there are some questions each leader should ask:

  1. What cause do you serve with Level 5 leadership (professional will and personal humility)? "If you have a charismatic cause, you don't need to be a charismatic leader."
  2. Will you settle for being a good leader or grow to become a great leader?
  3. How do you reframe failure as growth in relation to the big, hairy audacious goal (BHAG)?
  4. How well are you succeeding by helping others succeed? The platoon, squad, team or organization isn't successful unless all members are successful.
  5. What is your personal hedgehog (i.e. that junction of where you are really good, get paid to do it--or some other reward--and you're passionate about it)?
  6. How well are you building your unit into a pocket of greatness?
  7. The primary question, especially related to those leadership intangibles: How will you change the life/lives of another/others for the better?
A culture of leadership is built on three principles of service, growth and success. Collins not only experienced it at West Point, but also with a mountain climbing friend who worked years to be able to free-climb El Capitan in Yosemite Park. At one point, his friend was able to finish the last leg having finished the most grueling section that had defeated him several times before. However, his climbing partner was not past that section yet, so the friend climbed back down to coach and encourage his partner through this section. And then they summited together. That's leadership.

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