It is rare when we talk about leadership to begin with the importance of leading yourself. We focus on leading our teams and influencing others, which is certainly an important part of leadership. However, if we do not lead ourselves, we will not be able to lead others. We cannot lead others beyond our own growth and capability.
Leading ourselves requires using self-control in our daily lives and work. Self-control includes managing our emotions and attitudes to maintain a positive, constructive attitude. Rather than showing up with anger or negativity, we want to face challenges with hope and the commitment to move forward. Redirecting our feelings and controlling them around others to focus on solutions will have a profound impact on our leadership.
Leading ourselves also involves evaluating our motivations and intent. Do we make decisions based on what is best for others or what serves our needs? Are we motivated to make ourselves look good and feel important or to serve others? If our motivation is centered on ourselves, it will be difficult to succeed in the long term. Leaders must remain other-focused to achieve remarkable things.
Leading ourselves also means striving to grow. At some point, it can be easy to feel that we know enough or have so much experience that we don’t need to keep stretching. Inevitably this will cause us to coast and not bring energy to the mission, purpose and the work we are trying to achieve. Leaders must continue to challenge themselves to strive for personal excellence.
Leading ourselves also means recognizing the importance of being trustworthy. When our walk matches our talk, it allows us to build trust. Others may disagree with our opinions but will trust us and our intent when we are consistent in our actions. Occasionally take time to evaluate whether you are living out your stated values priorities. We must model what it is to have integrity.
Leading ourselves always begins with evaluating ourselves in these areas. Also, be sure to seek feedback from others to ensure that your view is accurate. This process may seem intimidating, but actually frees us to move forward. How well we lead ourselves will determine how deep, wide, and high our leadership can grow. Let’s be the best we can be!