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When I began writing Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, we began talking to my Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and John Maxwell Team coaches about the importance of questions, and we asked them to give me leadership questions that they wanted answered. We were flooded with questions related to self-leadership. We got more on this subject than any other. The next-largest category had less than half as many questions. Why so many? I think many people understand intuitively that if you can’t lead yourself effectively, everything else in your life will be a struggle.

Self-leadership is where credibility is established. It’s what makes your leadership appealing to others. Without self-leadership, a leader can’t make any progress or take anyone with him or her.

I want to share just one of the ten questions on self-leadership that I answer in Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. But before I do, I’ll tell you about the offer that the past posts have been leading up to.

Now, here’s the question about self-leadership…

What Is the Most Effective Daily Habit for Any Leader to Develop?
Much of self-leadership is about cultivating good practices or habits. And if you could cultivate only one habit to practice every day of your life, I believe it should be this: giving more than you receive. I say that because having a giving mind-set has so many benefits:

Giving Acknowledges That Others Have Helped Us
No one succeeds in life on his own. Every one of us has been helped along the way by other people. When we give to others, we acknowledge that by paying it forward.

Giving Requires Us to Get Beyond Ourselves
When your mind-set is to give more than you take, it forces you to think of others more than of yourself. You have to pay attention to others and what they want. You have to figure out how to give it to them. These things shift your focus from yourself to others. That very fact makes you less selfish.

When your mind-set is to give more than you take, it forces you to think of others more than of yourself.

Giving Is by Nature Intentional
People rarely give by accident. They must make an effort to give. It is an act of will. That intentionality grows us and makes us more proactive—important qualities for leaders.

Giving Changes the World—One Person at a Time
What would the world be like if everyone tried to give more than he or she took? People would change. It’s difficult for a healthy person to keep receiving from others without giving something back. Out of abundance comes generosity. Give generously to others without the hope of return, and the person receiving is changed and wants to pass it on. Once you have the mind-set of giving, the more you receive, the more you want to give. It becomes a positive cycle. As it spreads, not only do individuals change, but so do communities.

What does generosity have to do with leadership? Well, think about this: How do you respond to people who give? How do you respond to generous leaders? Don’t their actions make you want to give back, work harder, do your best? I know that’s what they do for me.

If you become a generous leader who always strives to give more than you receive, you will create a positive team and organization that others will always want to be a part of.

Three Questions to Ask Before You Can Effectively Give More
1. What have you been given? Look back on your life and think about what you’ve been given. Even people from the least advantaged backgrounds have positive experiences to draw upon.
2. What do you have? Look within to discover what talents, skills, and passions reside in you that you can pass along to others. You have worth. Others can benefit from your time and expertise.
3. What can you do? Chances are that there are things you can do for others right now. Look around you. What opportunities do you currently see to add value to others?
Learning how to ask the right questions of the right people will make a huge difference in your leadership. By developing this skill, you’ll set yourself - and those you lead – up for success.

This article is used by permission from Leadership Wired, Dr. John C. Maxwell's premiere leadership newsletter, available for free subscriptin at

Author Biography

John C. Maxwell
Web site: Injoy Group
John Maxwell grew up in the 1950s in the small Midwestern city of Circleville, Ohio. John's earliest childhood memory is of knowing that he would someday be a pastor. He professed faith in Christ at the age of three, and reaffirmed that commitment when he was 13. At age 17, John began preparing for the ministry. He attended Circleville Bible College, earning his bachelor's degree in 1969. In June of that same year, he married his sweetheart, Margaret, and moved to tiny Hillham, Indiana, where he began his first pastorate.

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