The One Thing That Makes You A Better Leader

Most of you know I do not do any promotion of products or advertising on my blog. The only thing I am interested in is helping you become the best leader that you can be, so this blog dedicates itself to leadership and leadership development ideas.

That said, I am so excited about a new tool that I have been using that I wanted you to all know about it.

The reason I think this tool is so cool is that it would benefit any leader, no matter what point they are in their journey. In fact, I believe in the power of journaling as it pertains to development so much that almost all of the clients I work with in my executive coaching practice will at some point receive an assignment from me to keep a journal.

I find journaling to be such a powerful way to reflect on and organize my thoughts. Leadership Icons such as Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Abraham Lincoln all kept journals. Journaling for me is very rewarding. I learn a lot about myself and what I am thinking and feeling in the moment. I like having somewhat of a permanent record that I can go back to and review those thoughts and feelings. I am amazed at times how much differently I felt about something 4 weeks ago in my journal versus how I feel about it now.

My journal is really my personal forum for self-expression. You might even call it cheap therapy.


While there are many ways to journal, I have always found writing in a paper journal with a good fountain pen to be the most satisfying and rewarding way to write. However, since I travel so much it is sometimes hard to remember to take my journal with me and even harder to remember to pack my good fountain pen.

I tried typing into a journal for a while on Evernote, but typing just didn’t do it for me. I get lost in all the key strokes and it is not nearly as therapeutic. I even purchased a journaling app about a year ago, but that was even worse than typing on my computer.

New Paradigm

A while back I was sitting with a client and we were talking about journaling. I was a little hesitant to bring it up because his personality type is an extreme Type A. He is a real driver, take charge, get it done kind of leader. Always going, always on the move, and at times completely running over people in his organization. He realized that he needed to slow down his thoughts and just spend some time thinking and reflecting.  

It was great getting him to this moment of awareness that some of his behaviors were not healthy for his organization and that he needed to change. He was ripe for journaling as a way to not only slow him down, but to become more reflective in his leadership practice. 

Even so, I was nervous to suggest the practice of journaling because I have had Type A personalities look at me over the years like I had three eyeballs all planted in the middle of my forehead when I suggested they begin to journal. I even had one client tell me that he just “isn’t much for writing things down”, and asked what else I had in my bag of tricks instead. 

However, in this case, when I brought it up, I got an unexpected response. He said to me, “Okay, great! I just ordered this new gadget called reMarkable and keeping a journal would be so easy.”  After I got over the shock of the immediate agreement to journaling, I asked him to explain what this gadget was. Rather than me explain it, you can watch a quick video about reMarkable here.

Scotts Top 10 Journaling Prompts

Whether you journal with pen and paper, typing on your computer, utilizing an app on your mobile device or tablet, or, if you choose to give reMarkable a try, here are my top 10 journaling prompts that will help get you started:

  1. What are the things you are really grateful for in life?

  2. What do you need to affirm about yourself? Perhaps your level of confidence or any positive relationships, or positive outlooks you are experiencing.

  3. What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

  4. How would you describe your leadership style?

  5. How do you lead change in your organization?

  6. What is your biggest obstacle to improving your performance?

  7. What is something you would like to reinvent in your leadership?

  8. What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

  9. What puts you in a good mood at work?

  10. How do you plan on using your top leadership strengths today?

If you do this journaling exercise please let me know. I would love to hear of your experience.  Also, if you have favorite journaling prompts, please send them my way. I would love to see other topics and ideas that leaders find valuable to reflect upon.

If you decide you want one of the reMarkable tablets for your journaling and other writings, here is a link you can use to order one. They usually take 2 or 3 days to come to you and you can also purchase some neat protective covers.

Happy Journaling!