Leading others is tough. Leading laterally and leading “up” is tougher still. But “self -leadership” is the toughest of them all.–Bill Hybels
Self-leadership can be defined as the process of influencing self to establish the direction and motivation needed for optimal performance. The person who successfully leads themselves finds that they are not only more confident, but experience job satisfaction and increased performance. Self-leadership is the key to leading a fulfilled life in spite of the challenges the world throws at you!
Even with all the benefits associated with successfully leading ourselves, I find that many leaders have a difficult time leading themselves. They often find themselves feeling inadequate, unfulfilled, and often depressed or discouraged in spite of the accomplishments they have experienced. So how can you successfully lead yourself?
- Honest Assessment: Know who you are! What are your strengths and weaknesses? What can you develop and make stronger? What do you need to let go of? Are you trying to be someone you are not? Having an honest assessment of who you are and where you are at in life will develop the foundation of successful self-leadership.
- Established Priorities: What are your highest priorities for your life? What gives you the greatest fulfillment? God, family, friendships, and causes are priorities which gives life purpose and direction. Establish these priorities and you will find greater fulfillment in life!
- Realistic Planning: Setting goals is an important step in helping you know where you are going in life. Setting goals like “trying to take over the world” maybe a little out of your range. Try asking yourself, what realistic goal could I set for the next step in life? You will find that as you accomplish realistic goals, you gain confidence for bigger goals.
- Humbleness: Leaders can be humble by understanding that even though you are in the lead, you need others to come along in the journey! You cannot self-lead without humbly understanding that others deserve credit for your leadership to be successful. Investment in others gives us a proper perspective of self!
- Don’t Compromise Integrity/Character: There are some things in life that you don’t compromise on no matter how creative or innovative it might seem. Self-leadership says “will this damage my credibility to others?” Living a life of integrity will help you to live with yourself!
- Foster Creativity and Experiments: Take time to dream dreams and take risks personally and professionally. Too often leaders can get into ruts of “this has been successful in the past” and don’t allow themselves to get beyond what is comfortable. There are many things that were once thought impossible until the first person did it!
- Outside Input: Self-leadership is not always based on the internal voices that give us guidance and direction. It is important that we have a mentor/coach/friend that has the liberty to speak truthfully into our lives. An outside perspective can be a productive part of successful self-leadership.
- Lifelong Learning: Constantly asking questions like “why?” and “why not?” are important in developing self-leadership. Being curious helps establish the knowledge and wisdom necessary to make right decision personally and in your own leadership. Know why you believe what you believe and always make informed decisions!
- Take Initiative and Lead Change: Great leaders understand that someone has to take the initiative for change and the same is true in leading self. Don’t be dependent upon someone else to change your direction. Initiate change. It won’t happen until you establish that change needs to happen now!
- Finally, Listen to God’s Voice: Your Creator knows you from the inside out. He knows how He created you and what your purpose and His plan is for your life. Understanding this is essential in knowing how to lead your life in the right direction. He has made His plan for your life very clear through scripture, and through prayer, He can help you establish that plan successfully! He can help you live a fulfilled life!
The only way to successfully lead others is to successfully lead ourselves. Take the initiative to make changes in your own life and you will find that your leadership will be much more fulfilling!
Question: Are there more ways to successful self-leadership? What are they? Please use comment box below!