Claire L Jew published an article about the 4 most important questions that she asks herself and I took this as an opportunity to think about the 4 most important questions that I ask myself as a leader. This blog has been quite difficult for me to write as I’ve struggled to limit the questions to ‘just 4’ or to look at questions where I can effect the outcome.
The questions that we ask ourselves on a regular basis can formulate the foundation for how we work, how we view ourselves and our teams. The one thing that we know for definite at the moment, is that everything is uncertain. 2021 has started in an extremely fragile way and I’m seeing experienced professionals succumb to the mental battles of trying to work during a pandemic as well as trying to succeed and develop as leaders.
Whilst taking a moment during a run recently, I started to think about the 4 questions that I will ask myself every day to focus on the most important things for me, my team and projects to be able to succeed. These questions can be used at any time, but are especially important during the pandemic when stress is such a more prevalent factor in our daily lives.
- How is everyone? (Really)
- What’s the best environment for my team to excel in? Am I providing that? Can I change anything?
- Is everyone aware of the expectations that I have? Am I aware of theirs?
- What type of Leader are my team see on a daily basis? Am I displaying the right attitude?
One reason that I have chosen these questions is because I want to be aware of the current situation and what I am able to influence in my role as leader, Project Manager, Scrum Master. If I do not know how my team are doing, whether they have all of the tools they need to succeed, then I’m assuming an awful lot!
I wanted to make sure that I could focus on the core aspects of my daily life in the project that I can control. I cannot change the outcome of the pandemic, the health of my team members but I can make sure that I can create an environment which makes it easy for them to work rather than a chore or burden.
Another aspect of my daily life at the moment, has been checking in on my team and doing a thorough mental health check on each of them as necessary. Have they got a support network? Do they need some support from me/ the organisation? Are there impediments that we can work through? Of course, having this conversation, rarely starts with me asking direct questions. I ask about their weekend, get them to open up about their working situation (e.g. lack of webcam/ screaming children in the background).
When you are thinking about the 4 questions that you could ask yourself every day, remember a few things:
- What are you actually able to affect/change?
- What would you do with the answer?
- Is it purely work related?
What questions would you ask yourself?