I wanted to continue with my previous post on learning to lead yourself and provide you with a few more thoughts and ideas. I can not emphasize the importance of this principal and getting it under control before you try to lead others.

I read a book titled “Smart Trust,” by Stephen Covey where he stated that research showed that the average company has two engaged employees for every one disengaged employee. Now he was not referring to their marriage status; we are speaking on being engaged with the mission of the company.

This got me to thinking about what it takes to get everyone on the team, or in the company, to be engaged with that mission. It is my personal belief that it boils down to the leader, you and me. It is our goal and responsibility to create a highly-functional and high-performance team that is both focused and engaged. Creating this type of team does not happen in the blink of an eye or overnight. It takes time and patience. Most importantly it takes a great leader that is fully engaged with the vision and mission from the beginning.

One of my favorite new hobbies is to interview people. I create a list of questions that I can ask people depending on the roles or position that they fill. In creating my list of questions, I came up with a few for leaders that I have also asked myself. As you read over these questions, be sure to be honest with yourself because the answers can be the determining factor when it comes to being a great leader.

Why do you want to be a leader?
What is your “core values?” Those that you will not compromise under any circumstances.
What are a few of your key strengths?
What are your weaknesses?
What are your thoughts on leadership and it’s purpose for the team?
What is your biggest failure as a leader? What did you learn from it?

When it comes to being a great leader, we need to be vulnerable. We need to be honest with ourselves about how we feel about ourselves and also how we feel about other people. We need to understand the true role of a leader and also the value of the team.

If you have the courage to be vulnerable with these answers, then your team will be more inclined to make themselves available and honest in their dealings with you. In other words, you don’t have to have all the answers. Not everything is under control. And yes, you make mistakes—more important, you own up to them and make them right. You acknowledge that you need their help and creatively look for ways to help them.

Core values are those things that are most important to you. Think about what you believe and stand for, and your convictions about what is most important in life. While companies have value statements, deep down each of us has the same type of values that we will not budge on. We need to know those; we might even need to add a few.

When it comes to your feelings about other people, your team, they have to know that you believe, respect, and truly care about them. I heard just yesterday a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that states “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” At the end of the day, the key to most any business or team is relationships.

Being a great leader begins with knowing and leading yourself. True leadership happens as we allow our true self to be evident in our actions. We must be authentic, and we can only be authentic when we truly know ourself.

This week’s experiment is for you to take some time and ask yourself the tough questions. Write down your values and figure out a few areas that need work. It will help in the long run.