Leading Yourself

March 30, 2021 contributed by Cheryl Viola, MBA

Before you can lead others, you need to be able to lead yourself. Developing the art of leading ourselves, our self-leadership becomes a critical step before we can lead others on the path to greatness and success. Change starts within. Often businesses look to make a change from the outside in.

Leading yourself means holding yourself accountable to a personal set of values, beliefs, and goals. It means acting with integrity when no one else is looking or even cares.

Leading yourself well is not essential for becoming a leader, but leading yourself well is essential if you want to be a leader worth following. Personal leadership requires us to care for our physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental wellbeing. Warren Buffet said:

Surround yourself with people that push you to do better…higher goals and higher motivation…simply bringing out the absolute best in each other.”

Everyone one of us at one time or another has doubted ourselves and has lacked confidence.  Too often we focus on the 5% that has gone wrong instead of celebrating the 95% that has gone right.

One of the greatest challenges the first time you are part of a leadership role is trying to fill the shoes of the one before you. Remember that the leader before had time and experience. As a leader, we need to know and acknowledge our weaknesses and recognize that we are our person. Our style is not the same as the one before.

Recently I was asked what my leadership style was. Without hesitation, my answer was that I lead by example, service-based leadership. I do not ask others to do what I am not willing to do. The challenge for me is delegation. I figure if I can do it myself why ask for help? Just like I need to be needed so does everyone else. When we know our weaknesses, we can work on self-improvement.

In the book The Inspirational Leader, author Gifford Thomas said “you must own your leadership by empowering and pushing yourself to follow that dream and feeling in your heart.” Inspirational leaders never stop learning and they always have their goal in sight.

Think about the best leader you have ever worked with. What did he/she do or say?

“Leading self” is a three-part recipe.

1. Self-Awareness

Ask yourself what was the worst leader you ever had. What did he/she do? Did they yell, did they withhold information. How good are you at sharing information? Rate yourself 1 – 5. What we find bad in others often resonates with ourselves.

Commit to the care of your physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being. Commit to being your highest and best self.

2.         Self-Reflection

Hold yourself accountable. Develop practices to prioritize these aspects of your life. When we remain accountable to ourselves and take full responsibility for our actions, emotions, and way of being we realize that we hold the key to reaching our highest potential. Take a couple of minutes each day to reflect on the challenges you are faced within the day.

3.         Self-regulation

Reframing – Stop and ask yourself how important is that issue right now. Rate 1 – 10. If it is a 10 engage immediately.  Invest in your growth. We do not have to do it alone. Seize the opportunity for continued growth and development. You are each other’s lifeline.

Invest the time in self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-regulation. To become a great leader, you need to first lead yourself. Leadership involves developing people and that starts with developing yourself, by becoming a better human being.