The 15 Minute Leadership Quiz


The 15 Minute Leadership Quiz©

1.    How is a leader different from a manager in your work? How much time (i.e., in percentages) do you dedicate each week to leading versus managing?

2.    In your work world, what characterizes a GREAT leader from a good leader?

3.    Are you a great leader? If yes, how did you determine that? If no, do you want to be a great leader? How will you know when you’ve become great?

4.    What is your individual leadership vision relative to your current assignment? Would key staff, key colleagues, management be able to articulate your vision immediately if asked?

5.    What makes your leadership distinctive (even from other great leaders in your organization) and how do you currently leverage your strengths to better deliver targeted results, motivate your team, or gain alignment with your colleagues?

6.    How will you be measuring your individual leadership success for this year? What one thing do you most need to improve to ensure success against those targets?

7.    What new approaches are you using to improve your leadership efficacy?  Are these approaches better, faster, or cheaper than what you have done previously?  Will they guarantee a rate of improvement equal or better to the improvement rate expected of your business unit?

8.    What are your individual accountabilities in terms of: values, behaviors, and results?

9.    Who holds you accountable for those contributions?  How often do you calibrate with relevant others about how you are doing in each of those key areas (i.e., values/behaviors/results)?

10.    What are the three most important steps you routinely take to align people with your leadership vision?  Are you confident that those are the most effective initial steps for building alignment efficiently?

11.    How would you grade the balance you have now between work and life outside of work (A-F scale)?

12.    What would it take to get a higher grade next year without losing any substantial effectiveness?

13.    What are the two things you could master to make you a candidate for a tougher assignment next year?

14.    What do you want your legacy to be?  Does it matter that you have a clear intention now around your leadership legacy or should time tell us what your leadership signature was?

15.    Who are the smartest, best-informed people you count on regularly from outside your organization to challenge your thinking and build your understanding of key trends and best practices?  How did you select those people? How often do you consult with them?

16.    Which of these questions would you say is irrelevant to your individual leadership success?

So, how did you do?  Most clients tell me that answering these questions wasn’t as easy as they thought.  Why?  Because these questions force executives to assess four key elements—elements that should be, but are not commonly, top-of-mind:

Are you sufficiently clear, articulate and intrinsically connected to your essential purpose as a leader?  Can you easily identify the core operating principles, values, or behaviors that you are committed to modeling as a leader? Would people who know you well be able to see the authenticity of your leadership platform or does it sound overly generic?

Do you have a concise, differentiating, understandable, relevant, timely, memorable call-to-action for people to follow? Do people know what they should start doing and stop doing to manifest this new state or do they think you are just asking them to do more (i.e., what you want now in addition to what you wanted yesterday?)

Have you figured out, or do you have the resources to help you figure out, how your particular call to action should best be achieved?  Can you, with confidence, show the way? Do know the critical success factors and the elements that will guarantee your failure? Remember: people want to win but in the most effective and efficient way.  All of us want to do more than survive a change—we want to prosper with it, and through it.

Have you selected the core measures that you will track to ensure your progress and bragging rights? Are the metrics you’ve chosen credible and simple to remember, track, and report?  Does everyone know and agree with how success will be determined?

The four elements of mission, message, method, and metrics will define your leadership platform. These choice-points will broadcast: (1) what your leadership is about and why it matters to you, the organization, the market, and the community; (2) how to get others on board; (3) your alignment and implementation strategies; and (4) how success will be determined.

It is hardly easy to drive change successfully in today’s organizational and market place environments. In fact, when recently studied, 75% of change efforts fail.  And when asked, individuals are more quickly able to identify examples of failed leadership than examples of great leadership.

So leaders have their work cut out for them.  And coaching is a proven way to accelerate skill development and drive success by helping individuals frame their essential purpose, why it matters, and how they will be successful both ultimately and at engaging others on the journey.

Coaching may not be right for everyone.  This short quiz, if you took it, should have helped answer if it might be right for you.

Laurie Anderson, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years experience as an executive coach to leaders in organizations ranging from Fortune 100 companies to the World Bank. Visit or call 1-708-524-2444 for more information on Laurie’s services for individuals, groups, and organizations.

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