When we think of high growth leadership one of the first questions that I am often asked is, “how do I get the best result out of team?” However, all great leadership should start with, “how do I get the best result out of myself?”
Self-leadership is the practice of purposefully influencing your thinking, feeling and behaviour to allow you to consistently achieve your goals. It is simply a process of influence on oneself. In the past 10 years it has become a popular belief that self-leadership is the backbone to all leadership and management. This makes sense: if you are unable to lead yourself, how can you be expected to lead others? Before anyone can strive to be an effective leader of a company they must first learn to master an effective leadership over themselves.
A person who uses self-leadership in their daily life will have the discipline and dedication to understanding their own strengths and weaknesses- someone who sets out to achieve the self-direction and self-motivation necessary to perform at their highest ability and achieve their objectives.
They become more self-aware which allows a great insight into their own personal behaviours, and this enables them to be more conscious of how they are impacting or hindering the goals they wish to achieve. A person demonstrating good self-leadership takes responsibility: they become accountable for the outcomes expected of them whether it is good or bad. They don’t blame others and they don’t blame the external environment. Even when faced with obstacles or unforeseen setbacks a self-leader has the motivation and drive to continue and persevere and remain committed to achieving their relative goals. The process taken to developing skilled self-leadership ingrains the idea that action leads to results. Even when all the information is not available they are decisive and don’t procrastinate – they make a decision with the information they have at the time, knowing it can be refined if needed.
As I hope this demonstrates, the benefits of self-leadership are crucial to an individual’s development and to their company’s. So let me go through practical steps that will help you become a great self-leader:
- Self-observation – Set aside time for some serious reflection. Observe your own behaviour and how your personal actions and thoughts might hinder or help you when trying to reach your goals. This will allow you to see self-behaviours that need to be changed, enhanced or eliminated.
- Goal setting – Writing out objectives and putting a clear plan in place increases self-direction and self-motivation. Make a plan of action for the most effective way to accomplish your goals and then work consistently until it is done.
- Positive self-talk – Focus on keeping your inner dialogue positive and useful rather than negative and preventative. This will give you a sense of personal power and direct your thoughts to expect good results, so when faced with a problem it will be seen as a challenge to overcome, rather than a sign of defeat.
- External feedback – Actively seek some feedback from an appropriate person. Be open and able to receive and act on the feedback.
Becoming a self-leader and maintaining self-leadership takes commitment, discipline and the motivation to improve. By using the strategies highlighted above you can begin to master the skill of self-leadership, and start reaping the rewards for yourself and your company.