Questions leaders should ask themselves

3 Powerful Questions Leaders Should Ask Themselves Each Morning

When leaders ask these three questions each morning they are better equipped to lead a happier, more productive, and focused day.

Photo: Ken Gosnell, CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience); Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Ken Gosnell, CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience); Source: Courtesy Photo

A few minutes of self-inquiry each morning can make a big difference in the outcomes and success of your day. Heightened mental clarity and self-awareness can be a competitive advantage.

Great leaders ask questions. They are always learning and seek new answers to old questions. Yet, the best leaders ask questions of others and themselves. It’s this type of self-inquiry that acts as a catalyst to their goals. Tony Robbins agrees, “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”

If you want to become a high-impact leader, and operate in a way that is increasingly transparent and honest, ask yourself 3 essential questions each morning.


1. What can I release today?

Yesterday can keep us stuck and have a profound impact on today. Simply put, yesterday slows us down. However, the wrong type of focus on yesterday will never build the foundations of a better today (or tomorrow). To be at our best, we have to rid ourselves of things that hinder our focus, perspective, and direction. This includes:

  • disappointments and failures of the past
  • daggers and hurtful words of others
  • detractors who do not believe in your success
  • distractions that causes you to lose focus
  • disbelief that you can fulfill your destiny

We should throw off everything that hinders, it’s been said. “And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” When we carry the problems of yesterday into today, it presents us with a league of problems.

Leaders must learn the art of traveling light. Author and behavioral scientist Steve Maraboli says: “Why let go of yesterday? Because yesterday has already let go of you.”


2. What can I recognize today that will help me have a better tomorrow?

Here is an important truth: Self-awareness is a major quality of great leadership. Leadership expert John Maxwell once said, “To grow yourself, you must know yourself.”

Great leaders are alert and sober-minded. In other words, leaders are always thinking. We should pay attention to shifts, trends and opportunities that exist around us. Either we will notice theses opportunities or our competition will.


3. What should I resist in order to have the power to accomplish my plan today?

Learn the art of saying no. Many leaders fall into into the busy trap and as a result, are less impactful. The busy trap consists of a few common behaviors and outcomes. Ask yourself these follow-up questions:


Do I spend my time running?

Not on a track or a treadmill, but running towards the next urgent thing (e.g., meetings, an endless to-do list, etc.). When you start the day running, and continue at a breakneck pace, you have no time to reflect. Resist aimlessly running throughout the day.

Do I spend my time ordering?

Many people look to leaders for direction. People come into your office throughout today to find finite answers. As a leader, when you’re busy making all the decisions your team can become stagnant. Resist ordering others. Instead, delegate and guide.

Do I spend my time hiding?

Some leaders develop the bad habit of separating themselves from their team. “Effective leaders know that healthy communication builds a sense of connectedness,” according to Forbes contributor Ivelices Thomas, an accomplished Labor Attorney. “So use every opportunity to engage in meaningful interactions with your team, always communicating openly and honestly.” You are an important part of the team. Resist leaving the team behind.

Do I spend my time scheduling?

Most leaders overwhelm their calendars with too much unproductive activity. They find themselves addicted busyness. Resist the need to feel busy. Great leaders know the difference between activity and impact.


Create daily habits with lasting impact

When you ask yourself these three questions each morning you are better equipped to lead a happier, more productive, and focused day. As a result, over time you will become a more impactful leader.


Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience). He serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations that enable to go further faster. He has worked with hundreds of CEOs and leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. Ken is the creator and facilitator of the Christian CEO Linkedin Group and creator of the CEO Experience Impact Assessment. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. Connect with @ken_gosnell on Twitter.


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