Leadership journaling is most productive, and meaningful, when asking yourself questions that provoke deeper thoughts; but watch out for those rabbit holes!

In my previous post, I described the benefits leaders reap from journaling, and the importance of making it a routine. But the truth is, to get the most benefit from your journaling, it needs to be meaningful; it needs to provide you with insight.

This topic comes up in my coaching and consulting practice. I recommend that questions cover a variety of ground, and they should be asked regularly for maximum benefit. Feelings are certainly a focus, as are observations, concerns, and satisfactions.

To avoid those rabbit holes, use this list of queries:


In her 2016 Harvard Business Review article, Want to Be an Outstanding Leader? Keep a Journal, Nancy Adler suggests leading your reflection time with some positive takeaways:

  • What was I thankful for today?
  • What did I do well today?
  • What did I learn today?

The answers to these help build a positive mindset. They’ll boost your confidence and productivity.

Self Awareness
  • What made me laugh today?
  • What made me upset today?
  • Did I act in an unfortunate way today?
  • Did I feel successful today?
  • Did I disappoint myself today?
  • What inspired me today?

The answers to these can improve your emotional intelligence by assessing your responses to circumstances. This will help you deal with feeling better, and shape your character for maximum effectiveness.

My Leadership
  • How am I leading?
  • What do others think of my leadership?
  • Am I reflecting my personal values?
  • Am I supporting my organization’s values?
  • Were my people better off today because of me?

Answers to these can assess your impact and how it can be improved.

My People
  • Who needs my attention?
  • What might my people be feeling to make them the way they are?
  • What techniques worked with my best people?
  • What techniques didn’t work with those who concern me?
  • Who has been consistently dependable / non-dependable?

Answers to these will shed light on how to manage talent better.

My Goals
  • Did I get closer or farther from my goals today?
  • What can I do differently?
  • What should my priorities be?
  • Are my goals still appropriate?
  • What is the purpose of my work?
  • What fulfills me?

Answers to these can aim you in the best personal direction.

Don’t undervalue journaling. Resist the temptation to drop your diligence or cut your routine. Practice patience. The effects are long-term, but they can be amazing.

Let journaling refresh you and help you find a level of enjoyment you may be missing in your work. If you make it a priority, you will eventually wonder how you ever got by without it.

What do you think? Is your journaling meaningful? Are you seeing benefits from journaling? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 561-582-6060; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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