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Effective Leadership: A 22 Question Leadership Test

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.


If there is a trait that characterizes leaders, it is opportunism. Successful people are very often those who steadfastly refuse to be daunted by disadvantage and have the ability to turn weakness to good effect. They are people who seize opportunities and take risks. Leadership then seems to be a matter of personality and character.” – John Viney

There is a substantial difference between being a team leader and leading so that people will willingly want to follow you. The natural leadership test is influence. For example, what if you were employed with a volunteer organization, and your employees’ livelihoods, rewards, and benefits were not based on whether they did what you asked? Would they still do as you say? Do you think they admire, respect, and trust you as a role model, mentor, and team leader?

Leadership Test: Below is twenty-two questions about how you perform as a leader. Do you prove honesty, credibility, and competence? You may also want to pass this leadership assessment on to your team. How well are they performing compared with other team members? Consider using this leadership test in performance reviews and for discussions in meetings.

1. As a team leader, how do I show that I am honest? Do I do what I say I am going to do?

2. Do I make competence, character, and credibility priorities? How?

3. Do I listen effectively to others with an open mind even when I may disagree?

4. How do I prove honest yet discreet communication with team members?

5. Do I prove good people or effective leadership practices with my team?

6. How am I thoughtful and considerate of others in the department?

7. How do I prove my and the organization's vision in a way that others clearly can understand?

8. Do employees see how this vision applies to them and the big picture?

9. Do I understand my goals and how they tie in with organizational goals?

10. Are the company and my individual goals specific, measurable, and in writing?

11. How do I take responsibility for my job?

12. Am I initiative-taking in taking on or looking for added responsibility?

13. How do I tactfully suggest better ways of doing things?

14. How do I offer ideas for improvement without putting others on the defensive?

15. Do I show up on time for work and begin work at once in a way that contributes to the team?

16. Am I alert and mentally present for work?

17. How do I work to promote better morale with my team and other departments?

18. How would I grade the overall quality of my work?

19. Do I complete assignments on time and without being negative?

20. How do I do my best to produce a product or service in which others can take pride?

21. Have I received leadership training in conflict resolution?

22. Am I open to leadership training in personal and professional development? If I have received this training, am I applying the skills learned?

Go back and reread the first five questions of this leadership test. How do you prove character, honesty, and credibility as a team leader or manager? In leadership training worldwide, I have found that these are vital characteristics employees want to see for them to WANT to follow their leader willingly. Were you able to answer "yes" to most of the questions? How would other team leaders in your organization score?

Remember, if people know they can trust you, they will follow your leadership, a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without a system.


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