What’s the greatest challenge faced by any leader?
It’s leading yourself!
Most leadership failure is the result of poor self-leadership. Leading yourself – personal leadership – is the most important tasks of any leader. It’s the most important set of practices a leader can develop.
Personal leadership starts with accepting responsibility for lead yourself first. It begins with the recognition that unless you lead yourself, you cannot lead others. Personal leadership a commitment to lead your own life. A commitment to take the opportunity to create, design and live a life of meaning and purpose. To contribute to others and make a difference and impact the world around you in a positive way.
Leading Others Starts With Leading Yourself
Leadership starts with leading yourself. Before you can lead others, you must lead yourself. To live a life that serves and impacts others requires you lead yourself first. If you cannot lead yourself why would others want to follow you? People don’t follow leaders who fail to lead themselves.
Leading from title or position will only take you so far. To become a great leader of others you must take charge of leading yourself first.
Leading yourself first is to recognise you’re the leader of your own life. It’s to recognise that you lead from within. It’s founded on a choice to live a life of meaning, a choice to live a life of purpose, a choice to have a positive impact on others.
“No leader sets out to be a leader. People set out to live their lives, expressing themselves fully. When that expression is of value, they become leaders. So the point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, to use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You, must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming.” – Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader
Leading yourself is the foundation for all other forms of leadership. Personal leadership is about leading yourself so that you can lead others.
8 Practices of Effective Personal Leadership
Leading yourself first consist of the following eight leadership practices that form the foundation of effective personal leadership.
- Clarity of Purpose. A purpose and vision that makes clear why you exist and what you want to achieve with your life.
- Leverage Your Uniqueness. A deep understanding as to what makes you unique, your strengths, weaknesses and capabilities. You know where you’re strong, you know how to leverage your strengths and you know how to compensate for your weaknesses. You understand the unique contribution you make to others.
- Cultivate Strong Character. Character is the heart of who you are as a leader. You have a deep self-awareness, a knowledge of your personal beliefs, blindspots, habits, motivations and values. You have developed a set of values, principles and habits that form the foundation of your leadership.
- Maintain a Leader’s Mindset. Building a leadership mindset, attitude and perspective that supports effective execution and daily action.
- Effective Management of Time and Energy. You’ve developed the practices and habits necessary to manage your energy (health, fitness and rest) and time so you can achieve more with less.
- Trust Based Relationships. You have developed a network of relationships with people who can advise, guide and inspire you to live a life of greatness.
- Continuous Learning and Growth. You have a process and approach to accelerate your learning and growth as you navigate towards your purpose and vision.
Leading yourself requires you invest in the development of personal leadership practices. You will struggle to become a great leader unless you learn to be great at leading yourself. Leaders who fail at leading themselves eventually fail. They loose their moral compass, they burn out or they damage critical relationships.
Leadership starts with you. It starts by you leading yourself first.
- Are you effectively leading yourself?
- Which of the personal leadership practices do you need to strengthen?