Out of the Darkness

Out of the Darkness

Here’s a short litmus test for every person charged with managing others.


Take the time to answer each of the following questions. No, instead of simply scanning it and saying, “that’s interesting…” – really take a shot at honestly responding.


Most so-called “leaders” can’t – or won’t.


  • The spouse/”significant other” of each of my direct report’s name is _________________________.
  • Each of the above has _____ children and their names are ______________________.
  • The primary motivator (beyond salary and compensation) for each of my direct reports is as follows: _____________________________________________
  • The last time I took the time to discuss something substantive and beyond work responsibilities with any member of my team (and in excess of 5 minutes) was __________________________
  • The hobbies/interests of each of my direct reports include the following: ____________________________________.
  • The driving passion for each member of my team (from a professional standpoint) would include the following ______________________________________.
  • Each of my direct reports would comfortably say I am more concerned about them as people than I am in the results they generate. (Select – Definitely Yes – Yes – Maybe – Not Really – Absolutely Not.)
  • I invest the most time in which of the following areas when it comes to my team:
    • Results
    • How to achieve those results
    • My team’s purpose and how that aligns with each team member
    • Getting to know the individuals that comprise my team and their goals
  • Each member of my team knows who I am – what I believe in – and that they can count on me. (Select either – Definitely Yes – Yes – Maybe – Not Really – Absolutely Not)
  • The trust factor on my team is – High – Moderate – Low. Why?


Ten questions. The only one that sees this questionnaire is you. If you actually manage others what would the results tell you?


Now – even more important, how would your direct reports answer these questions about you if they enjoyed that same opportunity?


Our traditional view of leadership is often mired in two things – the results we are charged with rendering and how we get there.


Dated thinking – and woefully lacking for generations who long for purpose, trust, meaning, and yes, autonomy.


The illusion of leadership is real – and it’s growing. We see evidence to that effect in both the private and the public sector in our world today. Invest a few hours watching the news tonight – draw your own conclusions.


Like a candle in the wind – far too many leaders are destined to burn out the followers who look to them.


Those who cannot lead at best hope to manage.

Those who cannot manage at best hope to control.

Those who cannot control at best hope to coerce.


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