Powerful Reflection Questions for Leaders 

Updated Apr 15, 20222 min

Powerful Reflection Questions for Leaders 

Dr. Paul StraussUpdated Apr 15, 20222 min

By taking a few minutes to process, reflect and plan, managers position themselves to be great leaders. Intentionally taking time to prepare for your day or week provides the opportunity to mentally prepare for what’s ahead. This feeling of preparedness often leads to an increased likelihood of emotional regulation and patience. 

When we feel more prepared and organized, we are able to prioritize our time and attention. These positive qualities contribute to a strong work environment for ourselves and our teams.

We’ve found that managers find significant value in going through this series of questions on a regular basis (the cadence depends on the specific series of questions). And, if you want to take it to the next level, try writing out your responses in a notebook. Writing down your thoughts is wildly powerful. It also allows you to identify trends over time.

So what are these game-changing questions? We break them out by category. Take a look!

Daily Questions To Feel Mentally Prepared

  1. What are my top three priorities today?

  2. Is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time?

  3. Is what I’m working on helping me make progress towards my goal?

  4. What is the most important thing I need to communicate today, and with whom?

  5. Whom did I publicly recognize for a behavior that exemplifies our culture?

  6. Where did I provide value this morning / this afternoon (be specific)?

  7. Have I had a good balance of speaking AND listening?

  8. What can I do today to help my team excel?

The best leaders cultivate positive and productive habits within their teams. Leaders can encourage this reflection process with their direct reports by leading conversations using the below prompts.

Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports

  1. What is one thing that I should be aware of — good or bad — right now?

  2. What is your biggest win this quarter?

  3. What is your biggest challenge or frustration right now?

  4. What is the most important decision you’re facing? Is there anything that is keeping you from making it?

  5. What roadblocks are you facing? How can I help you deal with them?

  6. What do you not get enough of from me?

  7. What is one thing that we need to start doing that would help our team and its success?

  8. What is one thing I could stop doing that would make our team stronger?

  9. Who has done phenomenal work lately? What did they do and how did they contribute?

  10. Who would you consider an unsung hero in our company? What do they do that deserves recognition?

  11. If you were forming a new team, who are the people you’d most want on your team? Why them?

  12. What is one thing that our team needs to make sure we continue to do in order to be successful?

Give these questions a try and let us know what you think! We can’t wait to hear how you incorporate these questions into your daily routine.

Dr. Paul Strauss
Dr. Paul S. Strauss is a distinguished professor emeritus at Fairleigh Dickinson University, a lecturer, consultant, and author for more than 50 years.

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