“Before you can lead others, you must be able to lead yourself.” – Lolly Daskal
Anyone who aspires to be a leader should look in the mirror and ask, “Am I doing a good job of leading myself?” The answer must include more than just self-awareness, although that is a great place to start. To lead yourself is a combination of talents, skills, knowledge, passion, and commitment.
I have never had a problem with setting high standards for myself and others. Doing our very best, mastering our craft, or just aspiring to be the best will contribute toward leading yourself well. But there is more to it.
Here are three things leaders should know about leading yourself.
- It requires unfiltered truth-telling. When you look in the mirror, how honest are you willing to be? Yes, I can acknowledge my baldness or gray hairs but what about the more sinister side? Will I challenge my motivations? Can I willingly admit my contribution to a problem? Accepting the truth about ourselves might just be the most important way to lead yourself.
- It requires new priorities. Most of us are tempted to live in the moment. We like instant gratification and our use of Amazon Prime is a glaring illustration. While it isn’t inherently wrong to want things, to lead yourself means prioritizing what has real value over what might satisfy for the moment. My ultimate destination is more important than any immediate opportunity, especially if it might require me to compromise my values.
- It requires others. My circle of influence includes business and personal friends who share my values and know my strengths and weaknesses. They are my sounding board when I’m wondering about a decision or choosing a direction. To lead yourself well, means leaning on others. When we go it alone, it rarely goes as we planned.
When you lead yourself well, others will begin to feel the impact of your leadership. They will be inspired to follow your example.
“As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me.” – John C. Maxwell
To lead yourself well, just remember to be honest with yourself, prioritize what matters, and ask for help. Exceptional self-leadership is how we create and sustain influence in our world and beyond.
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