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leadership lab

This column is part of Globe Careers' new Leadership Lab series, where executives and leadership experts share their views and advice about the leadership and management issues of today. There will be a new column every weekday. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at

Are you an effective leader? Are you sure? How do you think you can improve?

Leaders must use their judgment every day to decide whether the contributions made by others measure up.

Now it's time to turn the tables.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, all leaders should regularly undertake a detailed self-evaluation of their effectiveness.

Now is a good time to assess your actions so far this year, and judge how you performed in 2013.

The true-and-false survey below will help you evaluate how well you did as a leader last year, and what you need to improve upon in 2014.

For each of the 25 leadership activities listed, ask yourself whether you achieved the desired outcome or met your – or others' – expectations.

When you're done, figure out which two activities are your greatest strengths and find ways to keep developing them.

For any areas where you believe your performance fell short, pick two that you believe could hurt your ability to lead if you don't improve.

Then, set concrete goals with clearly defined steps and indicators of success. Define how you will measure and monitor your personal performance. If you are unsure what to do, ask a trusted peer, a human resources professional, or perhaps a professional leadership coach to help you out.

The survey

Answer honestly, either True or False, the questions below, and keep track of your responses.

T/F I was a positive role model; I led by example.

T/F I positively influenced my team's behaviour.

T/F I was prepared, anticipated needs, was on time, ready and organized at least 90 per cent of the time.

T/F I developed a clear strategic plan that drove my business plan design. I clearly broke out the individual goals and milestones needed to achieve the business plan.

T/F I followed up regularly with all goals, assignments and commitments at least 90 per cent of the time.

T/F I was committed to ensuring employees get a fair and meaningful performance appraisal.

T/F I spent equal time sharing with staff what I thought they were doing well and where they could improve.

T/F I trusted my staff, allowing them to make decisions and take responsibility for activities where my direct involvement was not mandatory.

T/F I helped each person on my team focus on their strengths.

T/F I anticipated and overcame operational challenges.

T/F I advanced my personal development and my team members' development with interest and excitement.

T/F I achieved at least 90 per cent of my defined business and performance objectives.

T/F I demonstrated the ability to align my work force with all processes in a productive and efficient manner.

T/F I believe my staff would say I am consistent and fair.

T/F I had open and honest two-way communication with my staff and peers.

T/F I used daily, weekly and monthly measures to ensure we were on track to achieve our goals, to set priorities and make decisions.

T/F I was committed to continuous improvement and looked for ways to increase efficiency and save costs, time and resources.

T/F I held meetings that were effective and didn't waste people's time.

T/F I understood how critical performance management is for developing and retaining our work force.

T/F I developed a set of strategies and practices to retain employees.

T/F I worked with my team in a collaborative way to ensure everyone was clear on our priorities and the rationale for these decisions.

T/F I was committed to providing outstanding customer service.

T/F I arrived each day excited to begin work.

T/F I was approachable and effective communicator with my staff.

T/F As I look back on 2013, I am pleased with my contribution to the organization.

Bill Howatt (@billhowatt) is president of Howatt HR Consulting in Kentville, N.S.