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8 questions every leader needs to ask themselves regularly

By Ella Zhang | |6 minute read

In the fast-paced world of leadership, it’s easy for leaders to get caught up in the whirlwind of tasks and decisions.

The pressure to make split-second choices, guide teams through uncertainty, and maintain a strategic vision can be overwhelming, the pace and intensity of this environment can erode the space for reflection and introspection, leaving leaders with little time to examine their leadership approaches and challenge their assumptions.

Reflective self-questioning is a vital tool that can provide leaders with the clarity and insight needed. The art of asking incisive questions to oneself carries this transformative superpower that transcends the boundaries of routine.


Through thoughtful inquiry, you gain a profound understanding of your motivations, aspirations, and habitual patterns, fortifying your self-awareness and authenticity as a catalyst for innovation, empathy, and resilience. So, what questions should you ask yourself regularly as a leader?

1. What thought patterns or beliefs are currently influencing my decision making?

Thoughts and beliefs are powerful drivers of behaviours, often operating beneath our conscious awareness. Bringing these patterns into the spotlight, you can gain insights into the biases, assumptions, and conditioning that might impact your decision-making and assess whether your beliefs align with accurate information or are based on assumptions needing re-evaluation.

2. How am I pushing myself beyond my comfort zone to embrace alternative ways of thinking?

Cognitive flexibility is a vital skill in today’s diverse and rapidly changing world. When you regularly challenge your minds this way, you are more likely to find innovative solutions, embrace novel ideas, and are better equipped to navigate conflicts, empathize with differing viewpoints, and facilitate productive discussions that lead to resolutions rather than escalations.

3. How do I typically respond to stress, and are there healthier coping mechanisms I can adopt?

Understanding your auto-stress-responses enables you to learn to manage stressors and maintain a composed demeanour, even in challenging situations. If you can examine how you react or act under pressure and whether your current coping mechanisms are conducive to your overall well-being, you can lead more effectively and inspire your team to grow.

4. What emotions do I frequently experience, and how do they impact my actions?

Being attuned to your emotions means not just recognizing and understanding how you feel in different situations but also distinguishing between subtle emotional nuances, like fear and excitement or frustration and impatience, which helps you navigate situations more effectively, express yourself more clearly, and approach conflicts with a calm and rational mindset.

5. Am I in tune with my intuition and inner wisdom when making choices?

When you delve into the intersection of logic and intuition and balance your analytical thinking with gut feelings, you learn to foster trust within yourself and ensure decisions that are informed by both rational analysis and intuitive insights so that you can tap into creative, out-of-the-box ideas that might not emerge solely from logical analysis, and that could be your secret ingredient for excellence.

6. How do I contribute to the well-being of others and the world around me?

Well, the cornerstone of transformative and impactful leadership is to add value to the success of those around us and consider our impact beyond organizational goals. You will create an environment where employees can excel and take ownership of their development if you strategically provide tailor-made care, guidance, resources, and growth opportunities. When people feel valued and supported, they are more likely to trust their leaders’ intentions and collaborate openly.

7. Am I conscious of any tensions or signals my body might communicate?

Physical wellbeing is the foundation for effective leadership. A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind and higher and steady energy levels. Being in tune with your body’s signals deepens your awareness of the mind-body connection. Understanding how your mental state affects your physical sensations empowers you to manage both aspects more effectively.

8. How did I contribute to the problem at hand?

Taking ownership of your contributions to a problem demonstrates accountability! While leaders vote for their people to have it, are you role-modelling that? Reflecting on what you did or didn’t do helps you learn from experience. Positive outcomes can be repeated, and mistakes can be transformed into valuable lessons that inform future decisions. Acknowledging your impact empowers you to shape your circumstances, contributing to a greater sense of purpose.

Each question listed above is a portal to deeper insights. However, these questions are meant to initiate introspection and personal growth. As you weave this art into your leadership fabric, you cultivate an unwavering foundation of adaptive leadership, where every choice you make is infused with intention. Fine-tuning the skill of asking good questions to yourself, be the beacon of inspiration for an extraordinary leadership journey ahead!

By Ella Zhang, author of Upgrade: How to outperform your default self to gain your superpowers.