As a manager or leader that is. One of the best ways to know (and grow) is to do a bit of self-assessment.
By now you have probably heard the adage "Leaders are Readers" or how I put it "Leaders are Learners." If you are truly invested in bettering yourself, then you are always searching for new insights, tidbits, ways of doing things better and more efficiently.
But what are you doing to fill your gaps?
Honestly, everyone has gaps but what will separate you as a Leader is being able to recognize your gaps and either try to fill them with knowledge or resources.
A few weeks back I wrote a post about The Real Transparent Leader, where we have Leaders who are really good about being transparent with any and everything...except when it comes to themselves.
There is no shame in admitting your gaps. Where you find shame is doing nothing about them.
So, what to do? Self-Assessment...Self-Evaluation....Reflection....
And do it often. Don't wait until the end of the year when it's performance review time. If you truly want to make an impact and inspire others, you have to stay ahead of your own growth.
Evaluate Your Skills Quarterly
My first recommendation is to evaluate your skills quarterly. You can take my quiz and re-take it every quarter. There are also plenty of online quizzes you can take, just make sure the questions are specific enough that they aren't left open to interpretation. The reason to evaluate your skills is so you have a true and honest picture of where you need to focus. For example, you may do very well when it comes to Management Skills (planning and scheduling) but fall short in Interpersonal Skills (building solid relationships and trust).
The key is, to be honest with yourself. You aren't doing yourself or your team any favors if you over-inflate your abilities. Be true, remember the goal is so you can be the leader your team needs....not to soothe your ego. No one is looking but you, be honest.
My second recommendation is to reflect often. Make it part of your Friday rituals. If you are in an open environment, book yourself a meeting room for an hour. Go through what went well that week and what didn't. Ask yourself how can you do more of what went well or build off of it? Then analyze what didn't go well by asking questions...Why didn't it go well? What could I have done better? What will I do next time?
A weekly reflection might seem onerous at first, but if you make it a ritual meaning it is something you commit to for yourself and your growth, then you will look forward to measuring your successes.
Ok, you have gone through the self-assessment and a series of reflections...Now What?
Make a Plan and Execute
How will you close the gap? Do you need to read a book, article, or blog post, or do research online? Do you need training? Do you need a mentor? Or do you just need to execute upon your reflection? What do you need in order to succeed as a Leader?
It's up to you to take care of your Learning. Decide what you need, then get after it. Whether your company helps you or not....investing in your skills is your responsibility. And guess what, they are your skills, they go with you wherever you go. Own them.
Being an effective Leader or Manager means you need to have a grasp on a wide range of skills. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you have to know everything, you just have to have an understanding. If you know your gaps, you can choose to increase your skills or get the resources to help you fill those gaps.
Either way, it starts with knowing your current state as a manager or leader and taking control of how you get yourself to where your team needs you to be.
It all starts with self-assessment.