Leading self is an understanding of who we are, what we do, why we do, and how we do it. It is the ability to lead ourselves to achieve our personal and professional goals. Great leaders have the qualities that make them successful and one of the most important qualities is ‘leadership’ in which the leader has a strong sense of self-awareness and the ability to use it to lead by example.
For achieving our own personal and professional goals for our life and career, leading ourselves will benefit us in the following ways-
- To keep us more efficient and productive,
- For motivation and accountability,
- It will build stronger relationships with others,
- It will help us in acquiring more knowledge of things which help us in succeed,
- It will inspire others to follow our lead.
In many organizations, employers are looking for candidates having strong skills in leading themselves as they know that these skills will help the organization to accomplish its goals more effectively and productively. It also keeps us motivated and accountable for our own actions. It will also help us in building strong relationships with our co-workers, supervisors, and managers as they will respect our dedication and work ethics. Every great leader needs to have the ability to lead their team by example. This means great leadership skill begins with the skills of leading self.
A self-leader is always in control, asks for what they need to do to achieve their goals, knows their strengths, knows how to enhance them, and also has a strong belief in their capacity to reach their objectives. When a self-leader gets empowered, they know how to overcome the constraints that limit their ability to solve problems, address challenges and develop innovative and creative solutions.
As with any other competency, self-leadership does not change or develop without practice. It takes effort and regular training to improve. It requires self-awareness about your thoughts, emotional reactions, behaviors, triggers, etc. It also means self-confidence and awareness about your strengths and added value. Finally, it implies self-efficiency, the belief that whatever comes your way, you can handle it.
The 1st step is a self-discovery journey in which you’ll honestly assess who you are and your abilities. What are your values? Your strengths and areas for development? What’s working well for you? What are your challenges? What habits and beliefs are not relevant to you? What do you feel/think/do in specific situations? What could you do better?
In addition to self-awareness, the process requires honesty, courage, self-knowledge, and self-discipline. Observe yourself with curiosity, compassion, and a non-judgemental attitude. You can’t lead until you’re fully honest with yourself. Integrity is required to observe thoughts, emotions, and behaviors without filter or judgment. Embark on a journey with kindness and self-acceptance.
Second, identify your goal and intentions. What is your purpose? What makes you a leader? Which leaders are your role models and why? What are the values that drive you? What will be your legacy? Set a goal that inspires you and will get you moving, a goal for which you are ready to step outside your comfort zone and overcome challenges.
Finally, design your development plan. Highlight the skills and competencies to be acquired, the strengths to be maximized and the changes you need to make. Purposely build the leader you want by using behavioral, emotional, and mental strategies.