3 Questions to Level Up Your Leadership

You’re running a million miles an hour. Every second of your day is packed. You’re kicking butt and taking names. You’re not just succeeding, you’re exceeding. 

And you’re running on fumes. 

What gives? In my work with leaders across industries, this is all too common. Leaders level up their approaches, add responsibilities, master new skills, and expand their scope. It’s all fine and dandy until it’s really not, and they’re stuck wondering exactly what the heck they can do about it. 

It’s time for three powerful questions that will help level up your leadership. 

One of the common stumbling blocks for leaders that will keep them playing small is not truly owning their time. As your distinction as a leader grows – and along with it your influence – you’re more in demand. Your thoughts, your presence, your time. The problem is your actual availability and capacity diminish in almost an equal but opposite amount due to the common natures of most workplaces. This is when these three questions can help you unlock actual availability and new ways of thinking about your time. 

  1. What is the purpose of this? 

A deceptively simple question, but one that often gets left by the wayside. If the thought, “What the heck are we even doing here?” has ever flitted – however quickly! – through your head when you’re sitting in a meeting, it’s past time to double down on establishing a clear purpose for each of your activities, meetings, and interactions at work. Spiderman may have popularized the proverb that with great power comes great responsibility. I don’t disagree with the wall-crawler, and I also believe that with great clarity comes great efficiency. (Not as catchy, I know!) Creating deep clarity around the purpose of how you’re spending your time at work will help you optimize your output. 

  1. Is this the best way to meet the need? 

It’s easy to get caught up in the execution of the day’s objectives. Meetings have been scheduled, emails have piled up, recurring interactions are on the calendar and booked into project management software, expectations have been set. And one of the challenges of all of this is that it’s hard to take a step back and really ask, “Is this the best way to meet the need?” You’re halfway through an email before it occurs to you that you could have just called the person. You’re 45 minutes into a 60-minute meeting when you realize a dashboard report would have sufficed. You’re on slide 17 of the deck when you think, “My team member could be doing this instead of me right now.” A regular practice of questioning the methods and approaches of how business is getting done can help you stay fresh and effective.  

  1. How could this be even easier and more efficient? 

Even though you’ve clearly identified the purpose and the best way to meet the need you’re trying to address, this is still a critical question! It can prompt you into new ways of approaching your areas of responsibility, and if nothing else, it’s a great reminder that it’s not only “ok” to find easier ways, it’s a core practice that can help you and everyone else around you. 

As your leadership journey evolves, keep these three questions close at hand to make sure that you’re owning your days and not the other way around. 

- Nicole



free: 5 Steps to finding clarity worksheet