5 Questions to ask yourself before accepting a leadership role


Whether you have been working towards this moment for years or are entirely surprised to learn that someone would even consider you for this sort of role, it has happened — you have been offered a leadership position.

Generally, upon learning that they have been nominated for a position such as this, most people feel a mixture of emotions – gratefulness, amazement, anxiety, and dread. So don’t feel guilty if you are having a hard time discerning how you feel; after all, with more responsibility comes more rewards, but also more challenges.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that you think thoroughly through the opportunity and make sure that you understand what you are taking on.

To assist you in the process, here are the five questions you must ask yourself before accepting a leadership role.

1. Do I want it?

First and foremost, you should start by asking yourself the most basic question which is, of course, do you want it? If the immediate answer is “No!” then your self-inquiry can stop right here.

However, if your response is a little more uncertain, then you want to go deeper with the questioning into the responsibilities and ask yourself whether you want to manage people, whether you want to have more responsibilities, and whether you want to deal with other people’s challenges as well as your own.

That being said, don’t let fear of the unknown get in the way of you taking your career to the next level. You can always take part in executive coaching to fine-tune your skills.

2. Do I have a full understanding of the role?

Once you have determined that you do want to take on the responsibilities of the role, it is then the right time to ensure that what you think the job entails is the same as what the job actually looks like on a day-to-day basis.

One of the biggest shocks that most people experience when they move to a leadership role is that their time is no longer spent solely focusing on their to-do list. Instead of focusing on your individual projects, you are going to be tasked with more ambiguous assignments that help others complete their to-do list – and often, you will also still have your own to-do list.

Therefore, you need to know that you can break down the broad management goals into actionable steps that can be executed regularly.

3. How do I address my leadership weaknesses?

No matter how much experience you have in your given industry, there are always going to be new things to learn and areas in which you need to improve. The same principle applies to leadership as there are always going to be weaknesses which you want to focus on strengthening and that can be worked on through leadership development programs.

On that note, if you are unable to honestly admit to yourself that you have weaknesses, then you probably aren’t in a mental state to take on a leadership role.

Some of the most common leadership weaknesses include a lack of trust in other people’s abilities, excessive connectivity, stagnancy, making decisions that are popular but not right, hypocrisy, and failure to set clear expectations.

You might be nodding your head to some of these, or perhaps you have other areas that need working on. Whatever the case, don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect (no leader is); instead, direct your energies towards devise a game plan that addresses the weaknesses.

4. To take on the long hours and more significant responsibilities, how much pay adjustment do I think is fair?

Once you understand the scope of the new position and have more of an understanding concerning what you need to do personally to prepare yourself for the new role, it is time to look towards the company and see what they are doing for you.

In other words, with the increase in work (both in time and in responsibility), what is going to be the suitable pay increase? If you aren’t sure what the going rate is, have a look around online at salaries for a similar position at other companies.

Armed with this research, be honest with yourself about what you think is a fair amount for your payment adjustment.

If you are the one who is bringing up the pay adjustment, then go into the meeting with a proposal that scopes out the position as you understand it and defines the responsibilities that you will be incorporating into your role. This helps everyone in the negotiation see what the changes in responsibility are and why your new position requires a pay increase.

Generally, you don’t want to agree to a promotion without a pay raise because an increase in pay shows the company’s commitment to your new position.

5. How can I make a meaningful contribution?

At the end of the day, for most people, a leadership position is a challenging but enriching role because its impact is so much larger than just you as an individual. By taking on this role, you are agreeing to be your team’s motivator, coach, and disciplinarian.

Additionally, they are going to look to you for guidance. Take some time to think about what types of meaningful contributions you want to make to the team and how you are going to implement them into your daily office life.

To make the most significant contribution, you need to make work meaningful and enjoyable for all the employees who report to you, which may involve learning some additional skills. To make a meaningful contribution, you need to learn how to manage different personalities, inspire people with a clear purpose, provide regular feedback, listen to what others are saying, and be a consistent presence so that trust is maintained.

Do you dream of having a leadership role? If so, what are you doing to get yourself to that point? If you are currently in a leadership position, what advice do you have for others who are looking to go down that path? What questions do you wish you would have asked yourself before accepting? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

About Salma El-Shurafa'

Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.

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