Dan Lavin

Answered: the four essential questions to ask yourself as a leader

Written October 16, 2018

Claire Lew, of know your team, recently wrote an excellent article about the four questions you you should be asking yourself as a leader.

It reasonated with me—so much that I decided to go ahead and answer those four questions myself.

Question #1: How can I create an environment for people to do their best work?

A leader doesn’t shape people – a leader shapes an environment. This distinction is critical. When you’re focused on influencing an environment instead of people, you concentrate your efforts on the inputs within your control: How you communicate priorities, the decisions you make, the gestures of care and support you show.

Question #2: How can I create as much clarity and coherence about what needs to get done and why?

The vision, the mission, the goals are crystal clear to you. But are they only for you? 🙂 Remember that no one can read your mind, and you’re the one person on the team whose job it is to say where you’re trying to go, and why getting there is important. Reflect on how you’re communicating the long-term vision of the team, and how it’s relevant and connected to your team. Yes, the work is meaningful to you – but how is it meaningful to each individual team member?


  • write.every.thing.down
  • be disciplined and consistent with your communication
  • err on the side of over-communication
  • establish feedback loops/channels

Question #3: How can I personally model the behavior I want to be true across my team?

  • Lead by example
  • curiousity
  • empathy
  • show geniuine interest in people

Question #4: How can I see things for what they are, instead of what I want them to be?

“The most effective people are those who can ‘hold’ their vision while remaining committed to seeing current reality clearly.”

  • curiousity
  • empathy
  • show geniuine interest in people