#285 from Innovative Leader Volume 6, Number 7          July 1997

What is Your Self-Leadership Quotient?
by Beverly A. Potter, Ph.D.

Dr. Potter provides management and self-development training for corporations, government agencies and colleges.  Among several books she’s authored are Beating Job Burnout:  How to Transform Work Pressure into Productivity and Finding A Path With A Heart:  How To Go From Burnout to Bliss (Ronin Publishing, Berkeley, CA, 1994,1995), from which this article is adapted.  She is located in Berkeley, California ( phone 510-540-6278, email beverly@docpotter.com, www.docpotter.com/).

Most people’s work involves implementing a vague objective.  We are rarely given a step-by-step plan, nor would we want one.  Going from an idea to a completed project involves finding a path and leading yourself and others through uncharted territory.  Self-leadership or pathfinding is a skill vital to success in any creative endeavor.  Yet, very few of us have had any training in self-leading.  In fact, much of our formal education taught us just the opposite—to follow.

Self-leading poses three pathfinding challenges.  First, is setting the course where you decide where you aim to go and what you seek to achieve.  This involves defining your mission and creating a vision of the outcome—what you will accomplish.  Next, is staying on course.  Accomplishing anything important is usually complicated with many steps.  It’s easy to get off course or to become blocked.  Staying on course requires a method for assessing progress, so you can correct and by-pass obstacles.

The last challenge is traversing the course where you must get from here to achieving your purpose.  Getting to your destination—accomplishing your mission—takes motivation and help from others.  You must get yourself and others to move, and keep the momentum going.

By taking the quiz that follows, you get an overview of the steps involved in pathfinding as well as a quick picture of your self-leadership strengths, and where you can improve your skill.


Read over the following items and, using a scale from 0 (never) to 5 (always), rate how characteristic each is of how you approach activities at work.  When you’re done, add up the score.

Setting My Course—determining where I aim to go

Getting Centered

            ___ 1.  I check my feelings.

            ___ 2.  I clarify what is important to me.

            ___ 3.  I get in touch with my personal power.

            Identifying Purpose

            ___ 4.  I seek problems to solve.

            ___ 5.  I clarify my purpose.

            ___ 6.  I assume responsibility to act.

            Deciding on Direction

            ___ 7.  I survey the situation.

            ___ 8.  I brainstorm what is possible.

            ___ 9.  I envision my purpose accomplished.

            Setting Goals

            ___ 10.  I match challenges to my ability.

            ___ 11.  I align my personal goals with my purpose.

            ___ 12.  I set specific targets.

Traversing My Course—getting from here to achieving my purpose

            Establishing Milestones

            ___ 13.  I survey my resources.

            ___ 14.  I map out action steps.

            ___ 15.  I establish standards of achievement.

            Getting Cooperation

            ___ 16.  I create a network of allies.

            ___ 17.  I build team spirit.

            ___ 18.  I share my vision.

            Motivating Myself

            ___ 19.  I create meaning in what I want to do.

            ___ 20.  I measure my progress.

            ___ 21.  I reward my progress.

            Enjoying the Moment

            ___ 22.  I accentuate the positive.

            ___ 23.  I look for satisfaction in small things.

            ___ 24.  I get absorbed in my activities.

Staying on Course—correcting my course and by-passing obstacles

            Thinking Flexibly

            ___ 25.  I maintain a “can-do” attitude.

            ___ 26.  I adapt my thinking to the situation.

            ___ 27.  I avoid perfectionism.

            Correcting My Course

            ___ 28.  I identify detours.

            ___ 29.  I make contingency plans.

            ___ 30.  I learn from my mistakes.

            By-passing Obstacles

            ___ 31.  I accept the challenge.

            ___ 32.  I view problems as opportunities.

            ___ 33.  I do something differently.

            Piloting My Adventure

            ___ 34.  I focus my attention.

            ___ 35.  I develop strategies.

            ___ 36.  I follow my bliss.


144 - 180            Excellent—Your ability to lead yourself is outstanding.  By studying the qualities you can probably become an even better self-leader as well as an outstanding leader of others.

109 -144            Good—You employ most self-leading skills.  With practice, you can become an excellent self-leader.

73 - 108            Potential—You have many self-leading skills, but employ them inconsistently.  With some skill training and practice, you have the potential to become an excellent self-leader.

37 - 72              Needs Improvement—You have many self-leading skills, but use them infrequently.  If you make the effort to learn and practice the skills, you can greatly improve your self-leading ability.

0 - 36                Deficient—You demonstrate little self-leading ability and find yourself going in circles and looking to others for direction.  You probably have the capability to become a self-leader, but you have it a priority to acquire the skills.

1-50  51-100  101-150  151-200  201-250  251-300
301-350  351-400  401-450  451-500 501-550  551-600

©2006 Winston J. Brill & Associates. All rights reserved.