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09.02.05 Issue #182
Are You a Great Leader?

Dr. Nancy Haller
Executive Coach
McKenzie Management

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True or False….

Leadership is a rare ability only given to a few.

Leaders are born not made.

If you answered ‘True’ you really need to read this article.

Most people have the potential to become good leaders. Leadership is not like a diet pill. Like most learned skills, it takes time, training, and practice.

If you want to be a better leader, identify your strengths and weaknesses equally so you understand how to operate, both positively and negatively. Observe how you treat others and how they respond to you. Coaching can provide the structure for you to do that. In the meantime, here’s a way to evaluate yourself.

For each area, rate yourself on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high). Be honest. If you are really courageous, ask your staff to rate you and compare.

  1. Are you fair and considerate? Do others enjoy being around you and find you easy to talk to? Do you treat employees as you would like to be treated? If so, score a ‘5’. However, if you are abusive or intimidating toward any of your staff, you must take a ‘1’.  
  2. Are you sensitive to others? Do you criticize employees only in private? If not, give yourself a ‘1’, and stop doing that immediately. While praising in public encourages people to excel, public criticism will only embarrass and alienate everyone.  
  3. Do you take the time to share your vision, your mission and your goals? If you consistently give your team a clear vision to follow, you can rate yourself a ‘4’. If you also help them to understand how that vision is valuable to them, take a ‘5’.
  4. Are you open minded? Do you stop and listen to suggestions from your staff? Do you quickly implement those good ideas? If so, you get a ‘4’. If you also invite/ask for input, you score a ‘5’. However, if you are self-centered, you get a ‘1’.
  5. Do You Work Under A Relaxed Environment? A score of ‘5’ will require you to have an atmosphere where your team feels comfortable and has fun while doing business with you. If your practice operates with high levels of pressure on a regular basis, that’s a ‘1’. No one wants to feel constant stress on the job, although they will sometimes be there. Take time to have fun and let the people around you do so as well.
  6. Do you show interest in others? Do you take the time to smile and say hello, or to ask how their day is going? If you treat your staff as real people not just worker bees, give yourself a ‘4’. If you also respect their differences, take a ‘5’. However, if you judge people quickly and make critical assumptions about them, that’s a ‘1’.
  7. Are you an effective communicator? Clear communication is the signal of great leadership. Do you expect others to know what you are thinking? If so, you score a ‘1’. If you consistently inform, explain, and clarify, you get a ‘4’. To rate a ‘5’ you need to be packaging information and delivering it to the right person(s) at the right time for the right reason(s).
  8. Do you have a climate of feedback in your practice? When employees do something well, do you tell them? If so, that’s a ‘3’. Do you also hold them accountable when they fail to deliver on expected responsibilities? If so, you rate ‘4’. Do you ask employees to tell you what you’re doing well, and not so well? Congratulations. That’s a ‘5’.

So, how’d you score? If you had less than 24 points, it’s likely that your leadership is negatively impacting your practice productivity. You might have high staff turnover, or poor performers on your payroll. Stop looking outward and start improving yourself. Focus on only one of two behaviors and make a concentrated effort to be consistent.

If you scored above 24, you’re doing a lot of things right. Give yourself a pat on the back. And remember that effective leaders always strive for improvement. They continue to learn and grow. Take note of the skills that you could strengthen. Set 1 or 2 specific goals and move from being a good to a GREAT leader! Your practice production will be the reward.

If you would like to enhance your leadership effectiveness and take your practice to another level, contact Dr. Haller at

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