When leading a company, it is important to pay attention to the details of the day-to-day operations, as it can help the company to thrive. However, it is just as important to leave time and space in your daily calendar for leadership-focused tasks. Otherwise, your business may end up running very smoothly toward nowhere in particular.
So how can you keep your focus on the right level of view? To find out, we asked 13 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council for ideas on leadership questions that business owners should ask themselves. Specifically:
Q. It can be easy to lose focus on what it takes to be a great leader when attention is drawn to the day-to-day operations of a business. In order to keep a constant pulse on the leadership you give to your team, what’s one question you regularly ask yourself?
Their best answers are below:
1. Am I Working in the Business or on the Business?
One question I regularly ask myself and push myself to analyze is “how was my time spent today / this week / this month?” I find myself constantly battling, working in the business, which includes putting out fires, administrative tasks, people management and more. Working on the business is more of where I want to focus, which includes growth initiatives, process streamlining, and strategy. – Joel Mathew, Fortress Consulting Group
2. What’s Great About This?
As a leader, it can be easy to stress over the small stuff. When encountering a stressor or problem, I regularly ask myself the question: “What’s good about this, or great about this?” And: “What else could this mean?” These kinds of questions put me in a better headspace to be grateful and resourceful. – Rachel Beider, Massage Outpost
3. What Is the Mission?
Always go back and remind yourself what the mission is and the purpose to what you are doing because that gets easily lost in the daily tasks and problems that come up. That will put the focus back and ensure you stay on track. – Angela Ruth, Calendar
4. What’s One Critical Thing?
The question I constantly ask myself is: What is one thing, only one critical thing, that would move the business forward today? Then, I focus wholeheartedly on getting this task done. – Julian Montoya, JM11 Investments
5. Is My Team Aware of the Connected Dots?
It’s easy to lose sight of how the teams understand their product and its features. As organizations grow, this can become more difficult. When the full vision is not adequately shared across the company, teams can lose sight of what is driving their product. Great leaders ensure everyone knows the navigation path. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
6. Where Are We Going to Be a Year From Now?
Depending on your business size, of course, managing day-to-day operations eventually turns into micro-managing. Leadership has to focus on training people to do their jobs and setting up systems to allow that (including quality control) so that leadership can ask the one all-important question your staff can’t answer: Where will the company be 365 days (or longer) from now? –Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs
7. Am I Setting the Course?
Great leaders give people a place where they want to be in the future. People are the most motivated when they have a target they are working toward and can see themselves getting closer to it each and every day. I try to remember that, as much as I can go around demanding loyalty, the best way to keep people happy is to answer a simple question that everybody asks: “What’s in it for me?” – Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC
8. Are You Being Clear and Intentional With This Fill–in–the–Blank?
I think this comes down to intention. People are naturally looking for, and seeking, the meaning behind anything you do or say. They are reading between the lines. My thought is, why put anything between the lines in the first place? This seems like a quick way to build barriers and a lack of trust. You have to remember that we are all observers. So being very apparent upfront about your intentions cuts through the noise quickly. It saves time and prevents miscommunication and assumptions down the road. It doesn’t mean you always have to be short or gruff in your interactions, but it does mean taking note of the energy behind the way you show up for everything in life, both professionally and personally. – Adam Toren, Kidpreneurs.org
9. What Is Our Big Goal? Does My Action Get Us There?
Sometimes, the answer is as simple as addressing the big goal, not the little tasks. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get bombarded with multiple projects and deadlines. As diligent we can be about multi-tasking, answering this simple question is an efficient way to remain focused. – Codie Sanchez, www.CodieSanchez.com
10. Does My Team Care As Much About the Success of My Organization As I Do?
The fastest and most effective question is for me to ask if my team cares as much as I do for the success of our organization. It speaks to our company culture, if we have a great team, and even if the right people are in the right positions for success. If we are all rowing together in the same direction, aligned culturally with the same care, then we can accomplish anything. – Eric Mathews, Start Co.
11. Am I Doing What’s Right for My Customers?
Everything should be customer-focused, from sales to product development. If you make your decisions about you or another team member, you’re distracting yourself from what you’re really in business for, which is to serve your customers. If your leadership decisions can always point back to what’s good for your customers, then you will usually be in a good place and your team will buy in. – Andy Karuza, FenSens
12. Can I Delegate This?
As our business increases, I find that I’m consistently asking myself what I can delegate. For example, if I find that I’m not spending enough time on a task that needs to get done, and I’m just rushing, it’s often because it needs to get delegated to someone that can spend the time to do it right. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
13. Are You Having Fun?
It’s safe to say if, as a boss, you’re not having fun, then your team won’t be either. This question is a good starting place for understanding the general happiness of the team. Work happiness is made up of a lot of different components, and it’s different for each person. Take a mixture of meaning, personal development, risk, reward, social time, etc. Use your own gauge and then talk with your team about how they enjoy their work. If everyone is working well together and enjoying their work, then you can bet that the results are going to come. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure