Personal leadership, it’s every bit as important as the leadership we talk about in organizations. A person who can lead themselves - self-manage, self-regulate, self-motivate - and do it with honesty, humility and compassion for themselves will be able to use those same skills with others.
Self-leadership is really important and we don’t give it enough “air-time”. It isn’t front and centre as often as it should be.
A client of mine who is a Senior leader in a new company has a great habit. When things start slipping off the rails, he first asks and thinks through his role in events and then looks for things he can change about how he is looking at things, what he’s thinking and saying. He starts with his self leadership and then takes it out to the team.
So, why don’t we talk about it more and why don’t more of us develop it?
Scott Jeffrey (https://scottjeffrey.com/self-leadership/) suggests three reasons why:
Our culture doesn’t support or encourage self leadership or mature psychological development
Self-leadership doesn’t happen by accident. It takes effort, requiring daily practice and attention to make progress.
Overall, we have a low level of what’s called emotional intelligence.
It’s an interesting point that Jeffrey makes. If we don’t support development in our adult years and that’s a cultural norm, how do we improve? Moreover, when did we stop wanting to develop ourselves and improve? What’s there to be afraid of?
I often hear about how busy people are and that they couldn’t possibly fit anything else in a day. Thus, the extra time to work on developing themselves, just isn’t there! Right?
And did you know there is a very strong set of current research that holds that we construct our emotions from our experience, perceptions and bodily reactions to things. We predict outcomes, match them to what’s happening and “feel” an emotion. With more emotional intelligence we can figure out what caused us to generate “that feeling” and choose not to let it stop us!
Given that a lot of my work is about helping people build capacity and realize their potential, getting the message across that they need to develop self-leadership first, is critical in helping them achieve both.
So, if you’re reading this article and you don’t have a plan, and goals, and support and understand why you’re where you are, stop for a bit and think about it. Better, write down some of what you think about. Examine it. And if it isn’t really where you want to be and why you want to be there, do something different. Start to build up your self-leadership and plan to take yourself to where you really want to be.
You’ll be happy you put in the effort!