3 Easy Ways To Know the Quality of Your Leadership

One of the most difficult aspects of leadership is to know how you’re doing as a leader.

Add a little insecurity into the mix, and it makes things even more complex.

Naturally, you’ll get feedback from your peers and probably get an occasional 360 review (both great practices).

But beyond that, how can you tell how you’re doing? The reality is your leadership is being judged daily. But how accurately do you judge and assess your own leadership?

There’s a way to check that’s much simpler than you might think. By asking yourself three simple questions, you can not only get an accurate gauge of how you’re doing.

By asking yourself three simple questions, you can not only get an accurate gauge of how you’re doing but where you need to improve.

Why This Matters (Leadership and Self-Delusion)

I find a lot of leaders are not clear on how well they’re leading.

This falls into two categories:

Leaders who overestimate how well they’re doing.

Leaders who underestimate how well they’re doing.

Both are problematic for different reasons.

If you think you’re doing better than you are, you’re the last person to realize you need to improve.

And if you think you’re not doing as well as you actually are, then you likely have potential you have not yet tapped into.

So getting a reasonably accurate check in on the quality of your leadership is critical to help you lead with all diligence.

3 Easy Ways to Know the Quality of Your Leadership

The following three questions form three quick shoulder checks you can do.

As with all self-assessment, there are limits on how accurate it will be. But my guess is as you work through these questions in the next few minutes you’ll know a lot more about your leadership than you might predict.

And, lastly, a quick note. This post (like almost all posts on this blog) assumes you want to lead better now and steward the leadership gift that God has given you. If you don’t, you’ll push back against these questions. I get that. But if you care about leadership, as difficult as the answers to these questions might be, you will want to answer and act.

So, to gauge your leadership, as honestly as you can, answer these three questions:

1. Is anyone following you?

One of the best ways to tell whether you’re a leader is simply this: Look over your should to see if anyone’s following.

If no one’s following (or only a few are), you’re really not leading.

It doesn’t matter how many leadership books you read, how many webinars you do or how grandiose your vision might be, a leader without followers is not actually a leader.

While we all get touchy about this in leadership, the reality is leaders lead people. (This post explains why some leaders have a higher number of followers than others.)

So who is following you? Be honest.

2 Who’s following you?

That you have followers is one thing, but the next thing to check is the kind of person following you.

High capacity leaders will attract other high capacity people.

The caliber of the people around you points to the caliber of leader you are.

Again, this isn’t always a fun question to answer, but it can become a spring board to progress.

If you don’t like what you find, ask yourself why higher capacity leaders don’t follow your lead.

And then take the steps you need to take to change that.

Here are a few posts that will help you better lead high capacity people.

6 Reasons You’re Losing High Capacity Leaders

7 Questions Every Volunteer Asks But Never Says Out Loud

Are You an Organizational Leader or Shepherd? (10 Easy Ways To Tell)

8 Basic Leadership Qualities (By Tony Robbins)

I also wrote about developing a high capacity team in my best-selling book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow. You can pick up the companion video Team Edition for your entire team here.

3. Who are you following?

It’s not just a question of who follows you, but also a question of who you’re following.

I’m not talking about the podcasts you listen to, the blogs or books you read or the conferences you attend. Our celebrity culture has created a mass following mentality that allows many people to follow influential leaders almost effortlessly. I’m not slamming this.

I read and listen to leading voices all the time and love going to great events. I’m in when it comes to that.

But I think it’s easy to develop a false intimacy with these influential leaders, thinking we know them when in fact we’ve never met them and in all likelihood never will.

While you can learn from people you read or listen to, even more important are the people you actually hang out with.

On that note, ask yourself:

With whom do I spend the most time personally?

Who’s building into me, personally?

Who’s mentoring me?

Do the people I spend the most time with represent the kind of leader I want to be in 5 years?

Are the people closest to me helping me grow into the leader God has called me to be?

If the answers to these questions bother you, change the circle of people you hang out with.

Find some leaders and mentors who can help you realize your potential. Seriously, send an email today to someone who can do these things for you before you close this blog post.

Know why this is so important?

As Jim Rohn says, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Want more time to be great? 

the high impact leader

If you’re honest with yourself, how did your time management turn out in 2020?  Looking back, would you say, “Man, I was so on top of stuff, I’ve got no issues heading into 2021?”

Or are you thinking, “I need to do better with time?”

Here’s one of the challenges with time management.

Nobody’s making any more time. Everybody gets 24 equal hours in a day.

The most productive person you know gets the same amount of time you do. So why are they more effective than you?

That’s why I developed  The High Impact Leader course.

The High Impact Leader course teaches you the system that I’ve used to manage my time now for almost 15 years.

I couldn’t believe the difference this approach has made for me. Before I created the system, I was leading a fraction of what I’m leading today. I also worked more hours and I was busy exhausted. My old approach led me to into burn out.

On the way out of burnout, I realized I had to live differently.

So I started reprioritizing my time, managing my energy, figuring out how to stop getting my priorities hijacked by other people, and in the process (by accident), I became far more productive, so now I can write books, I lead a new company. I speak all over the world, host a podcast, and still actually have time for my family and for myself. I even get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

How do you do that? I’d love to show you how to do that, in the online, on-demand High Impact Leader Course.

I’ve helped over 3000 leaders free up hundreds of hours each year and often 3 hours a day to do what they feel they never have time for and get healthier in the process.

The course is designed to help you get time, energy and priorities working in your favor.

Many leaders who have taken it are recovering 3 productive hours a day.  That’s about 1000 hours of found time each year. That’s a lot of time for what matters most.

Curious? Want to beat overwhelm and have the time to reflect, rest and reinvent yourself?

Click here to learn more or get instant access.

What Questions Would You Ask?

I find that by asking myself these three questions on a semi-regular basis, I get a fairly accurate assessment of where I am.

How about you? What questions would you add to this list?

Leave a comment.

3 Easy Ways To Know the Quality of Your Leadership


  1. Hemi Hossain on February 15, 2019 at 1:37 am

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Rick Morty on August 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Moses did a 360º and saw that only Joshua and Caleb were willing to follow him into the Promised Land–nobody else. They went anyway. You go where God calls you, not just to where the people will follow you. (Even if it is by yourself.)

  3. Tim King on August 15, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Great Stuff, and timely, I have found myself looking at and asking question three lately. Who am I following and really what sort of input into my life are they giving? The answer I am afraid is not much. I have a lot to work through. Keep these blogs coming.

  4. Bonnie provost on August 15, 2017 at 12:24 am

    This doesn’t sound like concerns of a true leader. The caliber of the people who follow you? In the Lords eyes we are all loved, and important. Who do you spend time with… sounds like, are they good enough, important enough, worthy of your time as a leader. I just don’t get this, unless im seeing something wrong. If your being followed then Gods using you and it’s not your own works. You ll maybe be doubtful now and then cause we’re in this world but you ll know if Gods leading you. Just don’t loose your focus and look back for too long, let your faith stay strong and move toward our saviour!

    • Debbie Jessup on August 21, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Also, many times you’re called as a leader to help develop new volunteers and leaders, and if you’re only looking for already-developed, high ‘capacity’ leaders, who is mentoring and developing the newbies? I try to give opportunities to anyone willing and interested, and provide mentoring opportunities for them to develop and grow their skills, which has resulted in many new leaders who started out as very inexperienced volunteers, including youth volunteers. As you encourage and mentor them, they can easily become GREAT leaders who can move on to positions of greater responsibility as a result. While we can develop and improve the skills that God gave us, we also need to be humble and remember that the only real success we have is when we allow Christ to work through us and give Him control of our ministry areas. Without that, we may look really good, with lots of confidence, shiny programs and materials, but may not actually be doing what God would have us to do.

  5. Jake the film guy on August 14, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you as always Carey!

  6. Christopher White on August 14, 2017 at 10:01 am

    You say that 360’s are a great practice. I disagree. Why? As a leader who has done these for staff and had them done I find that they corporatize ministry. By that I mean the values of a corporation and not Jesus take precedence and frame the context of the conversation. In my view the church is doing this far too often in how it manages staff and its own governance. It see’s management techniques from the corporate world as yet another silver bullet to save the church. It wont. As one millenial said to me. “I dont come to church to find a business,I come to church to get away from business”. We need a different paradigm.

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