top of page
leadership thoughts.png
  • Writer's pictureDr. Patrick E. Crawford

Reflection Questions for Leaders

Leadership Thoughts | Issue #117

Total Leaders 2.0 book

I've read countless books about leadership, corporate culture, and biographies of successful leaders. Whenever someone asks me for a book suggestion, my list of 100 favorite books is the first thing I refer them to. The book that shaped the core of my understanding of leadership is Total Leaders by Charles Schwahn and William Spady. It has remained at the top of my list ever since.

1998 Charlie and Bill combined the best leadership theories into a single framework. Their book's foundation was five leadership domains - authenticity, visionary, relational, quality, and service. They specified three distinct performance roles for each domain.

The Pennsylvania Leadership Development Center (PLDC) has developed its programming for schools, intermediate units, non-profits, and business organizations around the five domains and associated performance roles. My friend and colleague, Jay Scott, formulated essential questions to correspond to each of the five performance roles in the five domains. I modified his version for this edition of Leadership Thoughts. The Reflection Statements are drawn from the book to exemplify the characteristics of a specific role.

Take some time to consider your performance in the 15 roles listed below. Identify which areas you excel in and where you need to build up your skills. To help guide your self-assessment, make use of the scales below.

  1. Novice: Individuals at this level are new to leadership roles or have limited experience.

  2. Competent: Leaders at this level demonstrate satisfactory competence in their roles.

  3. Proficient: Leaders who are proficient exhibit a high level of skill and expertise in their roles.

  4. Exceptional: Exceptional leaders go above and beyond in their performance.

Authentic Leadership Performance Roles

Visionary Performance Roles

Relational Performance Roles

Quality Performance Roles

Service Performance Roles

Now that you have spent some time reflecting and assessing your standings among the 15 performance roles of a total leader, what will you do with this information? Will you be content with being competent or proficient? I suggest selecting three performance roles that require immediate attention and creating a plan to improve. Write down this plan and share it with someone else, plus add a way to track your progress. If you agree that exemplary leaders are constantly engaged in self-improvement activities, then making plans like this can help focus on areas that need improvement.


Subscribe to receive our "Leadership Thoughts" weekly!


​Explore Our PIL Courses!

PLDC offers Pennsylvania Department of Education PIL-Approved Programs that count toward Act 45 continuing education credits.

Two women looking at a computer

Our programs are designed using the most current and proven methods for effective adult learning that keep participants engaged and promote knowledge retention. In addition to our core programs, we can work with you to create a completely customized program to meet your organization’s unique objectives.


32 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page