Dr. Val Farmer
Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Are You A Leader? Take This Leadership Test

October 14, 2002

Do you believe in working with others to accomplish goals? It is easy to read that question and unthinkingly agree with it without really examining what it takes to be a good team member.

Some independent types may take pride in the fact they work and accomplish alone. Perhaps they feel that makes their accomplishment seem even greater. Perhaps some people are so confident and stubborn about their ideas that working with others would either bring challenge, change or conflict -something they don't want. The weakness of a "boss" is his or her inability to handle communication and the lack of trust they put in others.

Leadership quiz. If you like being the boss, being the Lone Ranger, being stubbornly right, competing with everyone, learning only from your own experience, and holding on to the reins, this quiz is not for you.

1. How open are you to change and new ideas? How involved are you in learning and personal growth?

2. How reliable and dependable are you in following up on the things you care about? Can people trust you? Are you honest, conscientious, responsible and committed to the effort it takes to succeed?

3. Do you care about others' feelings, goals and success? Are you able to listen to their ideas and be influenced by them? Are you able to share your own feelings and ideas effectively? Do you reach out to share your own work and goals with others?

If you have answered yes to the questions above, you have the ingredients to be a team player.

Do you trust others? Now let's see how well you trust other people.

1. Do you believe that most people care about being competent, creative and see their work as an opportunity for growth?

2. Do you believe that most people put forth their best efforts when they see their own needs and objectives being met by achieving the goals of the team? Do you believe they will continue and work hard if they feel the organization cares about them?

3. Do you believe that most people work at their highest level when they find meaning and challenge in their work? Do you believe they derive a sense of identity from doing good work? Are you willing to give them the opportunity to test their abilities and grow from their work?

4. How important do you think it is for people to have open and honest communication about their concerns and ideas? Do you believe that people can solve problems through communication? Do you believe that trust, respect and mutual support raise the vital energy and creativity in an organization?

If you have answered yes to the above questions, you are now ready for the test to see if you are already a leader helping others work toward mutual goals.

Drawing out ideas from others. A leader facilitates communication.

1. Is everyone allowed to participate in the selection and formation of goals and values that govern the direction and effort of the organization? Do you spend enough time together looking at the big picture?

2. Can you take the perspective of what is best for the whole group or organization and not be overwhelmed by needs and goals of elements of the group?

3. Do you provide a safe environment where people can share deep feelings and ideas without the fear of judgment, criticism or recrimination? Do you commit plenty of time to meet so more trusting, open and caring relationships among team members can develop?

4. Do you believe that the dynamics of a group process speed learning and promote collaboration among team members?

Personal growth. Another vital aspect of leadership is a leaders commitment to others’ growth.

1. Does the organization you influence provide opportunities so that people's creativity, personal goals and abilities are supported? Is there provision for specialized training, education or experience to meet individual needs? Can these growth experiences be channeled and meshed with future group needs and plans?

2. How well do you delegate to people's interests and strengths? Do you trust them with meaningful responsibilities? Do you allow for risk-taking and mistakes? Do team members have sufficient freedom and authority to be decision-makers and problem-solvers?

3. Are the team member’s contributions recognized, appreciated and rewarded? Is there an effective system of reporting and accountability so that their work is held up to measurable standards and is recognition given for accomplishment?

4. Do they take pride in "their work?"

If you've passed the test, you've been able to spread your normal worries, concerns and anxieties of management among many more people who really care for the group and its goals. You've been able to draw from the best thinking and efforts of talented people. That makes teamwork and being a leader a very satisfying experience..

The book, "Holistic Resource Management," by Allan Savory was used as background for this article.