The Leader in the Mirror


Many years ago, a mentor gave me the book “The Man in the Mirror” by Patrick Morley. I still have it, and every two or three years, I take it with me to the beach and reread it.

As I read it this last time, I looked at it from a leader’s viewpoint. It inspired me to create a list of five questions we as leaders need to be asking ourselves on a regular basis.

Here are those five questions. Will you look in the mirror with me?

1. How often am I communicating the company’s vision to my team?
If I asked your team what the vision is, how many different answers would I get? I did this recently at an organization I was working with. Of the 120 people in the room, only one person got close to the actual written vision of the company. Most had no idea what the vision was.

If this is the case where you are, how can you expect people to follow you? The fact is, they don’t know where you are taking them.

Connecting to you is one thing. Connecting to you and the vision is what your goal should be.

2. Are your people connecting with both you and the vision?
What are the priorities in my business? Do you regularly outline these for your team? Do everyone’s activities connect to the vision? If you can narrow down activities for everyone, and keep them focused on the WIN — or “what’s important now” — you will have a more productive, effective and efficient team.

Most people I talk with tell me they need better time management. But help your team with priority management, and everyone wins. Ask yourself: How am I really spending my time?You set the example by following the “what’s important now” formula — by working the vision and priority management.

3. What is your team really seeing in your example?
In my work with leaders, we often go through some exercises to truly see where they are spending time. It is normally an eye-opening exercise for them, as many realize they allow unexpected events, day-to-day challenges, and personal responsibilities take up much of their time. Left unchallenged, these can pull them away from leading towards the vision.

4. What does my feedback look like?
Ask yourself: “Do I give my team timely, constructive, and to-the-point feedback?” If you have the right people on your team, they want to be coached and developed. They don’t want to wait for the annual review process to hear how they can improve. They are looking for immediate feedback so they can adjust course accordingly.

If you are worrying about being “liked” by them, waiting until year-end reviews may not get you there. If you wait, you most definitely won’t be “liked.”

5. Am I open to feedback?
I will always recommend that leaders engage with a coach, but internally, who are you open to receiving feedback from? If you aren’t asking for feedback from several levels, you are missing out on some growth opportunities. Blind spots could be holding you back. 

Regardless of whether you are a leader in the corporate world, at a small business or in a business of your own, taking this journey of five questions on a regular basis adds value to you, your team, your relationships, and more.

davefergDave Ferguson is an internationally recognized executive coach, speaker, teacher and author. Connect with him at 704-907-0171 or at Ferguson lives on Hilton Head Island.  



Dave Ferguson will present “The Leader’s Ladder: How Your Climb Defines Your Success” at Frey Media’s Business Owner Summit 2018 on Sept. 27 at Venue 1223 in Bluffton. For details and tickets, go to