Another year is about to end. Besides running around getting ready for the party season, many leaders’ thoughts turn to analysing the year that was and planning for the year ahead.

There are a few questions they should ask themselves — questions that are thought-provoking, get them thinking and cause them and others to grow.

I have come up with a list of five questions I think all leaders should ask themselves at this time, in terms of what they intend to do in 2015.

Rate yourself on a scale of 1 (poor) through to 5 (excellent) to see where you can find opportunities to grow next year. Hopefully, in the process you will have a few ideas on how you can increase your ability to grow the people around you.

After all, that should be one of your goals as a leader — to help your team members reach their full potential.


Five must-ask questions



How am I growing?

This question is designed to get you thinking about your growth in the two key areas of professional development and personal development. Ask yourself:

•   What seminars, workshops and conferences have I attended?

•   What books or journals have I read?

•   What coaching or mentoring have I received?

•   What projects or committees have I been involved?

•   What experiences have I had?

It is the first question because it is the foundation for the rest, not unlike the root system of a plant that allows it to grow further. If you answered “none” to any of these questions, this is an area for you to focus on in the coming year.

To make this happen, you need to put in place a plan so that you don’t get to the end of next year and find you still haven’t grown.




How am I helping my team to grow?

Perhaps some of your personal growth has occurred as a result of helping other people to grow.

Remember the phrase “you don’t really know something until you have to teach it to someone else”.

This could be via formal or informal mentoring, coaching or training.

It could be by acting as a role model for others to follow or it could simply be putting in place the right conditions and removing any barriers that allow your team to grow naturally.




How am I helping my organisation to grow?

You need to think beyond your immediate team because one highly engaged team within an otherwise disengaged organisation is not going to stay engaged for very long.

What is your involvement in the various committees in your workplace? Are you someone who makes suggestions and looks for ways to innovate? Do you get actively involved in change programmes?

How are you assisting the organisation to attract and retain good people, even outside your area of speciality?

What relationships do you have with suppliers, competitors and others that might assist your organisation to grow?




How am I helping my industry to grow?

If you are passionate about your industry, then you will want to see it prosper. Remember that the more jobs there are available in your industry, the more career options you have, so playing your part in maintaining a healthy industry is in your own best interest too.

A good place to start is by being actively involved in the relevant industry associations that represent you or as a media commentator in your field. The rise of social media sites such as LinkedIn have made this possible for anyone at any level to contribute to the important conversations in their industry.




How am I helping my occupation to grow?

Even broader than industry involvement is the desire of leaders to see their occupation grow and develop. This could mean getting involved in the relevant specialist professional association or a more general association such as the Singapore Institute of Management.

It could also mean offering to help young people entering the occupation via teaching at a university or polytechnic or by offering work experience to school students considering the occupation for their career.

I hope these five questions help you and your team to grow in 2015!


Article by Karen Schmidt, an award-winning speaker, workshop leader and facilitator with Training Edge International. She helps frontline managers grow into frontline leaders using her workplace gardening philosophy. For more information, e-mail or visit