Archives May 2023

What kind of leader are you? Do you want the final say or are you all about democracy? Take our quiz to find out …


      1. The quiz should take about five minutes.
      2. Answer the following questions by circling the letter (A, B, C, D) that best reflects you.
      3. At the end of the quiz, add the number of A’s, B’s, C’s, or D’s you have.
      4. Then discover what kind of leader you are, as well as tips for success with that leadership style.

Click Here To Download You Own PDF Copy Of This Quiz

1. Do you enjoy working in a group setting?

A. No, telling the group what we will do is easier.

B. Groups can be a good way of promptly achieving what you want to be done.

C. I would rather let the group work alone and then give them my thoughts on what they come up with at the end of the meeting.

D. Yes, I enjoy hearing what my peers have to say.

2. A colleague comes in late for work the third day in a row after promising you it would never happen again. She begs you not to tell your supervisor. What do you do?

A. You had already told your supervisor the first time she was late, and now you will put in a complaint to HR.

B. You tell her that it will be ok and that you will make sure no one finds out.

C. You don’t want to get involved, so you slip off and perform your duties. 

D. You tell her that you have already caught her up on the work she was behind but that you are worried she might get in trouble. You ask her kindly not to be late again.

3. If you had chosen a career path other than what you are doing now, which of the following would you have chosen?

A. A job in criminal justice (Judge, Police Officer, Lawyer).

B. A job in entertainment (Dancer, Singer, Actor).

C. A job in finance (Accountant, Business, Stock Broker).

D. A job in events (Event Planner, Wedding Planner, Manager)

4. Your colleague is having problems at home and is asking you for your advice at work. What do you do?

A. Tell them to keep their personal problems to themselves, especially at work. 

B. Tell them everything will be ok, and you will work out a solution for them. 

C. Ask them what they think they should do about the problem, and then tell them to follow their intuition.

D. Tell them you would be happy to help them every step of the way, whatever it takes.

5. How do you feel about rules?

A. You make the rules

B. It’s ok to bend the rules if you need to.

C. Rules need to be established to get work done.

D. Rules are made for a reason and should be followed. 

6. A new employee was hired last month, and he still hasn’t gotten used to how fast-paced your department is. What do you do?

A. You usually tell people what to do to be efficient, and he is no different. You don’t mind directing your colleagues. 

B. You encourage him to shadow you to learn how to do the job properly and efficiently, just like you. 

C. You let him work the job out on his own. He was given all the necessary tools in school to be successful.

D. You tell a few colleagues about the issue and work together to ensure he gets the proper training.

7. How do you prefer to make a big decision at work?

A. I like to make the decisions and then let my colleagues know what I have decided we will do.

B. Encourage your team to see it your way; after all, you usually have the best ideas.

C. You like to let your staff know all the information needed to make the decision and then let them brainstorm on their own.

D. You like to work with your peers to find the best solution possible, even if it takes a while to arrive at a conclusion.

8. How responsible do you feel for your coworkers?

A. I feel very responsible. I have always felt nothing will ever be done on time if I don’t constantly direct my team.

B. I am somewhat responsible for them because they admire how well I do my job. They might get confused if they didn’t have me as a role model.

C. I am not responsible for any of my colleagues. They have the materials they need to succeed.

D. We are all responsible for each other.

9. When you are learning something new you,

A. Want to gather the information needed and learn the facts quickly?

B. Read some of the material, but eventually, you teach yourself how to do it independently.

C. Like to learn only the required information so you are efficiently using your time.

D. Read all the provided material, as well as research it yourself. Also, you speak to your peers and exchange information and opinions on the subject.

10. What words describe you best?

A. Powerful, efficient and independent.

B. Energetic, motivational and charming.

C. Relaxed, trusting and helpful.

D. Logical, social and creative.

Click Here To Download You Own PDF Copy Of This Quiz

Exam Time is over! Now, count your A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s:

A’s _____ B’s _____ C’s _____ D’s _____


If you have chosen mostly A’s, you are a Rigid leader. 

      • You are a powerful and intelligent worker; work is all about efficiency. 
      • You can sometimes come across as strict when you give directions, but in your mind, you are just doing your job well. 
      • Your leadership style is most helpful when there is a matter of urgency. 

However, this leadership style can come on as too strong in most situations. By delivering your message in a friendlier way, you will be able to do your work efficiently but also as one of the most well-liked employees.

If you have chosen mostly B’s, you are a Charismatic Leader. 

      • You are a very energetic worker and carry a large amount of responsibility. 
      • You love to encourage your team to do the best that they can do, although, sometimes, you may believe that you are the only one who knows how to get tasks done correctly. 
      • This is not always a problem for you; this leadership style makes you likable. Your coworkers tend to admire your work ethic. 

However, if you aren’t at work one day, some of your coworkers will have difficulty figuring out how to perform tasks without your direction. You need to ensure that your team has their independence from you so they can succeed as well. 

If you have chosen mostly C’s, you are a Laissez-Faire Leader.  

      • You are a leader that expects a lot from your coworkers. 
      • You give them the freedom to work independently without judgment, which works well if they are proficient workers and have a lot of experience. 

However, this leadership style can become disastrous if your colleagues are not as skilled as others. To avoid a lack of focus and motivation, you must make sure that you are checking in on your coworkers; They will benefit from more group work, and you will benefit from taking a more hands-on approach.   

If you have chosen mostly D’s, you are a Democratic Leader

      • You are a team player and believe in equal participation; therefore, you are bothered when your peers don’t work together.
      • Discussion and debate are your forte, which can hold you and your team back.
      • This can be one of the most effective leadership styles because your people feel like they are being treated fairly.

However, you ensure you are using your time effectively and avoid getting caught up in being fair such that you lose sight of the task at hand.

How Did You Do?

Is There Space For Improvement?

Maybe You Should Join The Better Leader Inner Circle Program To Invest In Making You A Better Leader!

Can You Name the 9 Essential Qualities of a Leader?

There are many schools of thought about the role of a leader. What are the essential qualities of a leader? What are the must-haves?

Well, I have three distinct opinions.

What makes a great leader?

  1. A leader taps into their team’s talents to achieve results.
  2. A leader’s role is not to engage their team but to achieve their mission by motivating and inspiring their people.
  3. A leader does not run a country club; they lead people to achieve something more significant than they could ever achieve as individuals.

The essential qualities of a leader

We also know that each leader should have a mission. Often, there are overlapping qualities between leaders in any industry and for all kinds of teams. For example, their mission is to create a cohesive, effective team in almost every case. Their mission could be to inspire, motivate, and bring out the best in their team.

But one thing is for sure, regardless of the exact details of their mission, there are certain qualities a leader must have to achieve them.

Here are the nine qualities of a leader they must tap into to lead effectively and in line with their goals.

Be Creative

Leaders must be creative and unafraid to take creative risks. Creativity allows competency to move to excellence. It is the spark that captures peoples’ attention and builds a cohesive whole.

Know the Structure

Leaders know and understand the structure of their organization. But they also know when to move beyond the boundaries of these structures. While we all work within parameters and limitations, a great leader knows not to let structure slow the process. Knowing the structure enables you to guide others to work within it effectively.

Use Your Intuition

Intuition is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. And emotional intelligence is one of the cornerstone qualities of a leader. Use your insight to sense what others are feeling and thinking so you can respond to them with understanding.

(We discuss more why emotional intelligence is critical to becoming a better leader in this post.)

Be Committed

A leader is committed to success. One of the qualities of a leader who leads effectively is that they can articulate that vision to the team. Then, they can also move and inspire the team toward the goal.

Be Human

Employees value humble and selfless leaders who don’t hide behind authority. The best leaders are those who aren’t afraid to be themselves. They respect and connect with others and inspire loyalty.

Be Versatile

Flexibility is the ability to be not overly attached to how things are ‘supposed to be’ and allows you to respond to events that will inevitably come up.

Have Fun

A light touch and a laugh balance out the seriousness of the task at hand and the team’s resolve and contribute to results and retention. When appropriate, levity can go a long way to energize your team members and promote a positive team environment.


Discipline is the ability to choose what one pays attention to and consistently model leadership. It’s one of the qualities of a leader that, by demonstrating, they can also inspire in their team.


Do not take your eye off your objectives … a leader achieves results!

(On the topic of results, take a look at this post next: The Last Thing You Need Is Another Leadership TED Talk: 3 Tactics That Leads To Action & Results)

Develop these qualities of a leader in yourself.

When you read through this list, chances are you mentally checked off some items. Maybe discipline and focus are two of your strong suits as a leader. But chances are, there are also some qualities of a leader you would like to work on developing in yourself. In that case, we should talk. My one-on-one coaching is for new or uncertain leaders who need help finding their way forward. Please read all about how it works here.

Did you like reading about the qualities of a leader?

Here are three posts to read next:

This post was first published in 2017 but was updated in 2021, just for you.

I wasted $20,000 – The 3 Questions you should asked before you waste money, time and people.

L’esprit de l’escalier:

We have all been there.

You are responding to a job interview question or having a spirited debate.

When it is over, and you walk away, that is when you think of that perfect response.

And I mean perfect, the mother of all answers and proof of your wisdom and powerful intellect.

Except, no one is there to hear you.

The literal translation of L’esprit de l’escalier means “the spirit of the staircase.”

The phrase is attributed to an 18th-century French philosopher who was berated at a party in a Parisian loft.

He left the party and went to the ground floor, where he looked back up the staircase.

And at that moment, he found his wits and came up with the perfect reply.


Letting an audience member down

Recently I spoke at the Certified Human Resources Professionals conference.

The workshop was titled: The HR Professional’s Dilemma: Leading When You Have Full Responsibility, But No Authority.

Read how you can bring this workshop to your team

I have to say it went well. The audience was engaged. I felt great.

Then the last question of the session was asked: “What do you do when no one is supporting the project you are trying to get done.”

I gave an okay answer, but not the best solution.

The conference centre is built into a hill, and there are several long escalators to ride as you move through the building.

When I got to the bottom of one escalator, literally and figuratively, L’esprit de l’escalier hit me.

The response I should have given came to me.

I should have responded with a series of questions:

Who’s project is it?

 Is it your project or the organization’s project?

 Have your peer and leadership teams said the project was vital to achieving the organization’s strategic objectives?

 Because if the project is only your priority and not the whole organization’s, it will be hard to move it forward.

 If everyone is not pulling together towards success, you will be all alone pushing a rope.

Read about asking better questions.

Wasting $20,000

It happened to me.

I dreamed of hosting a high-end conference to promote my organization’s work and establish us as a world-class centre of excellence.

I put into my team and personal performance objectives and got them into the organization’s strategic plan.

Nice Eh?

Sure-fire success!

But it was only my plan.

My peers and boss seemed okay with it and did nothing to stop me from moving this forward.

I made $20K worth of commitments to meeting planners, hotels, and speakers.

And it failed because it wasn’t an organizational objective.

Only mine.


The better answer

If the project you are working on does not help your organization meet its strategic objectives.

If it doesn’t help your boss meet their performance objectives.

If it doesn’t support your peers’ objectives

Then you are undertaking a Sisyphean task or are shouting up the staircase.

Read about Sisyphean tasks

So, ask yourself why you are doing it.

Coloured-pencils, Nail-polish & How You Can Get Dedicated Employees

A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface … As a tool, it is admirably sensitive. The lines it makes can be fat or thin, screams or whispers, blocks of concrete or blades of grass, all depending on changes of pressure so subtle that we would hardly notice them in any other context – Sam Anderson, New York Times 12 Jan 2018

For 130 years, the General Pencil Company of New Jersey has been making pencils.

Pencils so wonderfully simple they inspired Sam Anderson’s prose.

The General Pencil Company’s mission statement reads that they believe in quality, tradition, value, and the fun of creating. It is a company that has employees who have worked there for 47 years, and one, Maria, matches the colour of her shirt and nail polish to the shade of the pastel cores being manufactured each week.

I challenge you to momentarily think about your mission and vision statement(s). Does it sound loftier and grander than making the best pencil we can? Now look around your organization. Can you imagine that level of dedication and commitment?

I expect that you believe that your work is more important than mixing pastels for colouring pencils, but would you colour-coordinate your fashion to match your most important work?

I know that hardly anyone is motivated by mission and vision statements.

The things that motivate people at work are based fundamentally on the very exact needs they have in every other aspect of life – Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:


Basic Needs – The lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is essential, such as food and rest. When it comes to the workplace, this translates into money.

If a job pays employees enough that they can pay their rent and utilities and buy food and clothing, then the position satisfies the employees’ basic needs.

Safety and Security – Employees must have safety and security to succeed in the workplace. Employers should help employees feel physically safe by taking sexual harassment and threats seriously and having policies to deal with potential violence.

Employees must also feel that their jobs are secure. Suppose a company lays off many employees or doesn’t communicate with employees about layoffs. In that case, employees may feel frightened of losing their jobs — which would mean no longer being able to meet their basic needs — and be unmotivated to work.

Read more about talking safely to your people

Belonging and Love – Once basic and security needs have been met, employees seek to meet their needs by feeling comfortable with their coworkers and supervisors. Even if they don’t like or get along with everybody, they need to feel like they belong to the group they work with.

If an employee feels alienated from the company, she may not do her best work. This is doubly important when it comes to employer/employee relationships. Employees who don’t feel their bosses value them or their contributions won’t want to do their jobs.

Self-Esteem and Self-Actualization – The highest levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs relate to how employees feel about themselves and how they like and value themselves.

Employees who feel productive and do something worthwhile with their time tend to have higher self-esteem than those who don’t. An employee needs to feel like he is living up to his potential and is using his creativity & passion and may look elsewhere to meet these needs.

Read more about high potential

I certainly do not know all there is to know about the General Pencil Company, but reading about them, I can almost 100% assure you that they work hard – every day – to meet the needs of their employees.

Otherwise, how can you motivate a person to shovel and mill graphite for 47 years?