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5 questions great leaders say “Yes” to

Let us open this by asking you a simple question; who’s the best boss you’ve ever worked for?

Chances are, your mind goes back to one person who shaped your career, or your world view, or equipped you with a mindset or skill that proved invaluable and memorable. 

If you’re particularly lucky, you’ll have multiple role models like this in your professional journey. But how do you ensure that you’re that kind of leader to someone looking to you for inspiration?

Excellent question. Speaking of which, here are 5 questions we have for you. And if you can truthfully say “yes” to all of them, you’re a better leader and boss than most people you’ll run into. 

Because wouldn’t it be great if someone upheld you as their shining example of a boss they look up to?

Can you sum up your organisational mission in a single sentence?

No matter how big or small your company is, everyone is drawn to a mission with a passion, a greater cause that they can rally around. Tim Cook joined a nearly Bankrupt Apple, all because Steve Jobs told him he “wanted to change the world”. That might sound clichéd today, but it was trailblazing back in the day, when leaders focused purely on revenues, bottom lines, growth, and share earnings.  

What is the greater cause your organisation serves? If you can’t sum that up in one compelling sentence, focus on getting this piece of the puzzle right.

Do you express your appreciation and gratitude freely?

Sure, everyone works for a pay check. Sure, everyone likes to see the bonus roll in like clockwork. 

But beyond money, people and teams want to be appreciated, recognised, and thanked for their work. And as the boss, you’re in q unique position to set the tone for that. 

And thank you for reading this up until now. You are appreciated.

Are you punctual?

People’s time is worth something, more than money. I’m certain you’ve sat through a meeting, or a phone call where you know a quick e-mail would have sufficed, or you’re all waiting for someone to join so you can get a move on. 

That’s because time is precious. If you live to be 90, you have about 700,000 hours on the face of this big blue rock of ours. When you spend about half of that working, you really want your time to be valued and respected. If the meeting can be an e-mail or WhatsApp/Teams/Slack message, then by all means do so.

Are you aware of the power of the spoken word? Your words?

Communication is a powerful skill, wielded with great effect by some of the best leaders on the face of the planet. And it’s not just what you say, but what you leave unsaid. Think of Andi Owens, CEO of MillerKnoll, who thought she was offering rousing inspiration when she asked her team members to ‘leave pity city’, but instead angered them, and at least 69% of the internet in doing so. 

Think before you speak. Words are powerful.

Two ways to improve this: Think through what you want to say, while being mindful of what you leave unsaid too.

Do you admit to your mistakes?

Merely admitting to your mistakes and failings are not enough. It’s about striking the right balance between being humble and demonstrating resilience to power through.

Sometimes, you have to just stay focused, and at others you have to cut your losses. The art is knowing when to adopt which tactic. It’s a fine tightrope to tread, but one that the best leaders manage to do so gracefully. 

Karan Karayi
Karan Karayi
A part-time car enthusiast and full-time food aficionado, Karan is forever chasing his next big creative thrill. He also doesn’t enjoy writing in third-person.

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