I’m a huge believer that exceptional leaders are ones who practice self leadership. These are leaders who recognise that self leadership is not just about personal growth. It’s also about improving how they lead others.
Picture in your mind a leader you’ve worked with who inspires you to greater heights and for whom you’ll go the extra mile. What is it about them that you admire and respect?
During my career, I’ve had the good fortune to work with several such leaders. And I’m willing to bet that like me, your role models inspire you not only by what they’ve achieved, but also how they’ve done it.
Develop your leadership self awareness
Without self awareness a leader is like a pilot flying blind without critical data from his navigation dashboard. Think of self awareness as your leadership dashboard. It forms the fundamental bedrock to developing your personal leadership mastery.
Are you playing to your strengths? Similarly, do you know your vulnerabilities? Many leaders lack awareness of their leadership derailers that can potentially topple their careers. What is your leadership identity? If you’re not clear about what you stand for, you cannot influence effectively.
Manage your mind
This is an area that needs more focus. Your thoughts affect your emotions. And your emotions drive your behaviour. Change your thoughts and it will change your behaviour.
Often, it’s what we think about ourselves that undermines our confidence. And that lack of self-belief threatens our leadership success. You may have the functional or technical know how to do the job well, but it’s your self-belief that will help you excel as a leader.
You need to know your mindset barriers before you can learn how to manage them. And that includes finding ways to strengthen your mental toughness to perform well even under stress.
I say this often to the people I work with – You are not your work, and your work is not you. I may be stating the obvious, but it’s surprising how often we disregard this. You bring your best self to work when you’re happy with your life outside work. There is no work and life. There is life.
Leaders who practice self leadership are clear about their overall priorities. They organise their lives around what matters most to them. They are clear about how work fits in, and they make intentional choices to manage their career path.
The word ‘leader’ means that you’re in charge. In charge of setting the vision, delivering a goal or directing a team. But we often forget that first and foremost, we are in charge of ourselves.
A leader’s success or failure begins with self leadership. Developing your personal leadership mastery will help you lead with greater authenticity, confidence and resilience to grow your leadership influence and impact. Which is ultimately what delivers results.