Over several years, I have developed 14 decision making questions leaders should ask BEFORE agreeing to serve in any capacity, paid or voluntary, business or nonprofit.

As my coaching clients have spent time with the questions and their answers, good decisions have been made.

Here are a ten of the fourteen questions. If you are being asked to assume responsibility, whether it be a promotion, new company or new leadership role, take the time to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and write out your answers. That way you will be very intentional and capture your thoughts concisely. This will enable you to make a better decision about your future.

  1. Am I really committed to this cause and the people it represents? If you are not, don’t put yourself or them through the pain. Those who take ownership will put their all into it and stand a far better chance of success.
  2. Do I have confidence in the senior leadership and feel I can support them? If any doubt lingers about the senior leadership, deal with the questions now. You will have a lot to do with them and your current inkling may end up your lengthy headache … or worse.
  3. Can I make the time for this leadership responsibility without creating excessive stress? In reality, how much time do you think this will take? Knowing your own style, will you allow it to consume your time to an unhealthy degree. Preemptive action may be necessary.
  4. Do I and my spouse agree about this decision? If you don’t … don’t. If you enjoy a good relationship with your spouse, they are your first line of defense in making a good decision. They know you, care about what happens to you and how it will impact the family.
  5. Leadership issues take discernment. Am I a discerning person and can I improve that competency? Some leadership positions require real wisdom. There are tricky issues to deal with. If that’s not you, then say no. If you are willing to grow in this area, then move forward humbly and open to learn.
  6. Do I have any hidden agenda that could sabotage meetings or others on my team? If being in this role is all about you, your agenda may be the unspoken problem in every meeting. Deal with that stuff now, not later. Be up front about truth.
  7. Are there any continuing things in my life that if people knew about them would disqualify me from serving? Get those things cleaned up now. Don’t live with guilt and the fear of being ‘found out’. Failures are not final. Learning from them is priceless.
  8. Am I a good team player or do I generally want my own way? The organization is headed for trouble with a dictator at the helm. If you see yourself as the great ruler, get down off your pedestal. Learn how to work with the team. Provide great leadership and you will garner the respect that can dramatically move things forward.
  9. How have I been prepared for this task? Experience, skills, interests? Simple question with big importance. What has brought you to this point? The sum total of who you are will determine where you go and how you lead the organization or project forward.
  10. To what degree am I willing to change so that I can make a more effective contribution? There’s the rub. Are you willing to change? Those who are intentional about looking hard at themselves and making real personal and professional change, move forward. Others languish at the level of their refusal to do what’s needed to reach up to their potential.