Your company has just had a senior level position open up and with a company of only 25 people there was no clear successor.  Well congratulations it goes to you!

If you were in this scenario right now it would be a lot to take in. Realizing that you are an entry level team member one day and the next day you are a manager with little preparation. What if you are not ready?

Plenty of leaders out there have had doubts about whether they deserved their position.  Without self-doubt there would be no opportunity for leadership growth. So if you have recently been asked to step up to leadership and greater responsibilities, ask yourself these questions:

Why do you want to be a leader?
First and foremost…if you are still saying I do not know to this question you may want to stop here and have a honest and transparent conversation with your manager. A leader needs to understand their purpose for leadership.

Are you happy with the company that you work for?
If it is the job that you just do not like, then common sense dictates you should not lead.

Are you aligned with your company’s values and culture?
As an employee you can get away with disagreeing with one or two policies, as long as they are still performed.  However as a leader it is your job to live the values of the company which are the foundations of decision making within an organization.

Can you remain a free thinker?
A leader will have a lot of options and possibilities thrown her way. It will be up to you to make decisions for the good of your department, not just yourself. You need to display an openness to new ideas that aren’t just your own.

Do you feel comfortable in the situation you are in?
Is coming to work every day starting to become a chore, or possible even worse you are beginning to dread it?  Those feelings could mean that leadership isn’t for you. Evaluate why your feelings have changed? If the reasons are people issues, it is time for a discussion with your manager

What is the source of your doubt?
What happened that made you question your leadership in the first place?  Through a quick evaluation you should be able to figure out an appropriate course of action to take in handling the matter.

Have you prepared for a leadership role?
Being proactive in this situation can have the biggest rewards. A leader is interested in developing themselves for greatness. Always make sure you are setting yourself up for success. If leadership is a goal, then start asking for opportunities to lead before it becomes your responsibility.

Are you respected as a leader and do you have the power of influence?
“Leaders influence everything—from corporate culture to employee productivity,” says Peter Jeewan, CEO and President of the Lannick Group of Companies. One of the critical skills a leader needs is to influence others in order to get work done through others.

What is your biggest issue that needs tackling to better yourself as a leader?
Sometimes you are going to run into issues that you are going to need outside help with, identify the one skill that if refined and developed can make you a more productive leader.   Then look for a mentor that has this skill who can help you out.

How effectively do you communicate with your team?
Without clear and timely communications with your team, members won’t know where they are going and how it effects the success of the company. Timely feedback allows teams to adapt and correct their course so that deadlines and goals are met.

After answering the 10 questions,  it is important to renew your commitment to the company and develop into an even better leader. Development requires a plan along with resources and support. Make sure you have the support of your manager. Then, celebrate your incremental accomplishments. And finally reevaluate yourself every 90 days for a process of continual improvement.

What are some challenges that you have had to overcome to make yourself a better leader?  Remember people out there may rely on your response for help!

Additional Readings:
Click here to read a list for leaders in a book entitled Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders
Click here to read a breakdown of what it means to be a leader according to Peter Jeewan

Image Credit: The Stock Exchange ( User: bal1969