You cannot lead others if you cannot first lead yourself.
Self-leadership, one of the biggest challenges for leaders today, is a process of consciously choosing your thoughts, feelings, and actions to support you in achieving your personal and professional goals.
Sadly, too many leaders believe they ‘don’t have time’ to spend on developing themselves as leaders. Achieving this title or leadership position is considered to be their fait accompli!
But it is the quality, spirit, and soul of your leadership which will both define and differentiate you. To be the greatest, most fulsome version of you, to chart your ultimate destination and the steps you will take to arrive there, you need to revolutionise your thinking. This will result in your own transformation both as a person and as a leader. Develop a new mental image of yourself by repeating soul-led thoughts about your absolute purpose in life. Align these with your core values, the greatest beliefs you will ever hold, and repeat these thoughts continually until they become convictions. Your old thoughts, which have become old habits, will no longer serve you.
The trend in leadership is to be less prescriptive, dictatorial, and egotistical, dealing more in truth and realism. This change in leadership is being driven largely by the millennials, who have higher expectations of the leaders they work under, and their own approach to leadership is very different. They leave their jobs more freely if their needs are not being met, they prefer flat management structures and more effective twoway communication. They are hugely aware of their strengths, and they consciously develop their skills.
Leading a diverse workforce is challenging, and you need to be on top of your game to succeed. The best work you will ever do is on yourself. Find your true authenticity, transform and influence yourself first, then your employees. Despite the hundreds of years of research on the various leadership characteristics and styles, there is no clear profile of an ideal leader. Your leadership will emerge from your life story, and this is what makes you unique. While we all have a thread of leadership in us, and have been tested through our real-world experiences, few of us take the time to truly understand the essence of who we are, what our natural gifts are, and how and where to use them to best effect.
To discover your authenticity and passion to lead, revisit the story of your life and reframe your life experiences. The exercise below will help you to structure your memories and thoughts.
- List the most memorable and impactful personal and professional experiences in your life—both good and bad.
- Consider who benefited from these, how they benefited, and the role you played.
- Acknowledge and list the feelings you had in these roles when you became aware of the positive impact your actions had on others. Do not be modest; own your power and natural ability to influence and inspire for the greater good.
- Finally, list the key personality traits, characteristics, and leadership styles you exemplified.
On completion, note the trends and identify those experiences which made you feel completely fulfilled and expansive, which brought life to your being, and which made you want to do more of the same. Notice also those situations which sucked the life out of you, where you led people and projects but where you felt misaligned with your core values. This exercise will help you to reframe your life story and guide you towards living a more expansive leadership role.
The above is an extract from my recently published book ‘Dare To Be A Revolutionary Leader’.
If you are interested in or are unsure of how to start your own Self-Leadership journey, email me for a free 30-minute no-obligation chat – I would love to hear from you.
Keep safe and well till the next time.
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