Conventional wisdom says leaders are made, not born. But have you learned as much as you need to know? Do you feel uncomfortable with certain aspects of managing but don't know what the solution is?
If you've been losing sleep wondering how you're doing as a manager, here's some help. Take this quiz, which includes questions from three separate tests. Be honest, but don't beat yourself up. Who knows, maybe you're better than you thought and you can get some shut-eye.
PART 1: TRUE-FALSE
1. Leadership has a universal definition.
2. Leadership ability can be measured.
3. Men are better leaders than women.
4. Leaders are always found in top job positions.
5. Leadership and management are not the same thing.
6. Leaders have charismatic personalities.
7. Leaders are always influential.
8. One style of leadership works for everyone.
9. Leaders are "born"; no amount of skill training can make a leader of someone without the right genetics.
10. The most important action of a leader is service.
11. Leaders are reactive. They wait for events to occur and then react quickly.
12. You can be the best leader possible at work and yet be a poor leader at home.
13. In order to be an effective teacher, the teacher should first model, then listen, then teach, and always in that order.
14. You can win an argument.
PART 2: MULTIPLE CHOICE
1. The hallmark of great "teams" is the:
a) similarity of the members
b) differences yet synergy of the members
c) way they creatively keep people's differences from interfering with friendships
d) single strong leader talented enough to gain the respect of all members
2. The most important step any team can take is to:
a) consider the values and principles of each member of the team
b) develop a mission statement
c) get everyone knowing and valuing the other people in the group
d) help each person know himself and herself
e) all of the above
3. How long should a team or company of people spend developing its mission statement?
a) one day
b) as long as it takes
c) four to five days
d) one week
4. Great leaders build courage in their teammates by demonstrating:
5. An atmosphere of trust includes which of the following:
a) a mutually agreed-upon system of accountability
b) the accepted risk of failure of any member
c) a clear and understood statement of mission and vision
d) a competitive atmosphere where individual success benefits the entire team
e) all of the above
6. Great leaders fail. What makes them great leaders is their reaction to failure. Great leaders react to failure in which of the following ways?
a) push the responsibility for failure onto others
b) acknowledge the failure, consider their values and principles, then change
c) ask for help and guidance from everyone the failure affected
d) look for creative ways to succeed
e) b, c and d
7. Budding leaders are most surprised to learn that the element they need in order to lead with courage is:
8. You take the leadership position of a company. How long until you are truly the leader?
a) as soon as you sign the contract
b) as soon as you're voted into office
c) in three months
d) in 20 years, once you've established seniority in the corporation
e) none of the above
9. "Win-win or no deal" means?
a) if I don't get what I want, no deal
b) if you don't get what you want, no deal
c) unless there is a third option, there is no deal
d) it doesn't matter
e) a, b and c
10. How do great leaders spend most of their time?
a) working on the tasks of the organization
b) planning and working on relationships
c) putting out fires and in emergencies
d) in therapy
e) all of the above
PART 1 ANSWERS
1.False. Leadership definitions range from a set of learned skills to broad subjective descriptions of personal traits.
2.True. Numerous instruments exist to measure various aspects of leadership.
3.False. While differences exist in gender leadership styles, one style has not been proven better than another.
4.False. Leaders may be found at all levels of an organization.
5.True. Leaders and managers may share similar skills, but leaders possess more traits associated with providing vision for a group, the overriding view of where the organization is heading.
6.False. Since leadership is more learned behavior, the focus is more on effective communication than on charisma. However, charisma doesn't hurt.
7.True. Having influence is a leadership trait. One role of a leader is to take followers from one place to another, either conceptually or physically.
8.False. While there are a number of traits identified with leadership, how people manifest and effectively use these traits can take on numerous forms.
PART 2 ANSWERS
SCORING FOR PARTS 1 AND 2
19 to 24 correct: Not only do you have a good idea of what a leader is, you might be one yourself.
13 to 18 correct: You've worked with people who have leadership skills and are busy honing your own.
7 to 12 correct: You recognize good leaders and can benefit from paying attention to your own skill development.
0 to 6 correct: You're probably prime subject material for a "Dilbert" cartoon.
PART 3 Self-evaluation
Rate yourself on a scale of 0 to 10 for each item. If a portion of a statement fits you but another doesn't, reduce points as you see fit for what is not true of you.
0 = I don't clearly know what this means.
3 = No, not really.
5 = This is fairly typical or true of me.
7 = Generally yes.
10 = Absolutely. My subordinates, co-workers and boss(es) would also agree with my self-rating.
1. As a manager or supervisor, my behavior patterns with others are consistent and positive. I understand my own behaviors well and they are highly effective.
2. My intentions in how I think I relate to others at work are congruent with my actions and communications, and also with the impact on others.
3. I know there are many possible ways of thinking about any given work issue. I understand them clearly and I use different thinking modes appropriately.
4. Good teamwork is very evident in my department. I know what teamwork is, and I foster it constantly.
5. I know that information is energy. I make sure that my people get the right information at the right time and in the right way so it powers the right actions.
6. I have a good grasp of the change forces that affect my work enterprise. I make sure my people consider these when we develop long-term plans and financial forecasts.
7. The work culture in my department or unit is one of high standards, strong results orientation, creativity and sound performance.
All seven statements address important leadership issues:
1. Personal conduct and objectivity.
2. Relationships and communications: intent, action, impact.
3. Different thinking modes to deal with different issues.
4. Teamwork--what it is and is not, getting synergy.
5. Information as an energizer for successful action.
6. Change forces demands; planning for change.
7. Maintaining an effective work culture.
A score of 55 to 70: This is high. If you have evidence that most of your co-workers would rate you equally well, congratulations! Any items in which you scored below 7, indicate opportunities for attention.
A score between 35 and 54: OK to good. Ratings of 5 are average, mediocre. That may seem a harsh judgment, but it is important. Organizations that are in the middle of the pack slide very quickly when there is a change in the market or other conditions.
A score of 21 to 34: Take credit for being honest with yourself. But as a supervisor or manager, you are not doing as well as your enterprise needs you to. You should probably get training and development for most of the issues in this questionnaire.
A score under 21: Perhaps you haven't been a supervisor for very long. Perhaps in your company it is assumed that people know what to do, and there is little or no discussion about leadership and effectiveness. Perhaps you don't know what skills to sharpen.
If a low score is not true of other supervisors in your enterprise, your job is in jeopardy. If it is true of others as well, the whole company's future is in danger.
How did you do? Remember, the skills of leadership can be learned. If you got them all right, you've either read too many management books or you might just be a pretty good leader.
Compiled and edited by Times staff writer Robert Beamesderfer.
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