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  • Writer's pictureAnna Conrad

Are You Hard to Work For? 11 Self-Reflection Questions to Help You Find Out

One of my favorite sayings is, "People join companies but leave managers." How do you know if you are one of those managers that make people want to leave?

Leadership, at its core, is an exercise in self-awareness. Leaders who engage in regular self-reflection are significantly more effective than those who do not. 

Leadership, at its core, is an exercise in self-awareness.

Determining if you are challenging to work for requires courage and honesty. Here are ten questions that will help you begin the analysis and determine if you are hard to work for:

Do I communicate my expectations clearly?

This question encourages leaders to consider whether they articulate their goals and expectations clearly, which is fundamental for effective teamwork.

Are my standards realistic? 

Expecting excellence is a good thing. But if your standards are too high, you're setting your team (and yourself) up to fail. Consider whether you have perfectionist habits that frequently impact your team. Ask them for feedback about what they need to do their work effectively—and listen.

Do I exert too much control? 

If you find yourself dictating every detail of how tasks should be completed, stifling creativity and autonomy, it's time to pivot towards emphasizing outcomes. Offer guidance and feedback as needed, but entrust the methodology and execution to your team members. Essentially, they guide without taking over their tasks.

Do I assign mainly menial tasks? 

Growth and development are universal aspirations. Elevating expectations and loosening the reins can lead to astonishing results. Employ delegation not just as a task distribution mechanism but as a strategic development tool.

Is your feedback predominantly critical? 

Strive for a balance where positive feedback outweighs negative, ideally at a 6:1 ratio. If positive acknowledgments are scarce, begin by recognizing and celebrating your employees' strengths and achievements in a precise and timely manner.

Am I open to feedback?

 Reflects on your willingness to receive constructive criticism and suggestions from your team, an essential aspect of continuous improvement.

How do I handle mistakes – mine and others?

This question helps you assess your approach to errors, focusing on learning and growth rather than blame.

Do I recognize and appreciate my team's efforts?

Consider how often and effectively you acknowledge and reward your team's hard work and achievements.

Do I provide my team with growth opportunities?

Another way to phrase this question is, "Do I give assignments and tasks that stretch my team members, or do I give assignments only to the people I know have the skills to complete them?" 

How do I manage stress and conflict in the workplace?

Reflect on your strategies for handling stress and resolving conflicts, which are crucial for maintaining a healthy work environment.

Am I approachable and available to my team?

Assess your openness and availability for communication, ensuring team members feel supported and valued.

Remember, the journey of introspection and improvement is ongoing. You can transform the narrative by recognizing the signs, understanding the impact through statistics, and implementing actionable strategies. You become a leader and a visionary who empowers your team, fostering an environment where challenges are met with resilience and growth is embraced with enthusiasm. Remember, the goal is not to be perfect but to be a leader who inspires, supports, and leads by example.


👉🏽Do you want more real-life leadership tips? Sign up for the Monday Morning Mentoring YouTube channel and the ILS monthly newsletter. Also, follow me on LinkedIn.


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