Why is leading myself more difficult than leading others? I ask myself this question EVERY SINGLE day!
Why do I say or do things I know are wrong (there is a biblical reference here)? It happens at home, work, with my wife, with my co-workers and those I love and lead.
The answer is simple. There are areas I don’t see until they sprout up. In fact, I believe there are times I don’t see myself from a realistic point. I see myself from my intentions, AND others see me through my actions and words. I should probably also admit that I see my intentions from the training and talks I give.
While I speak of myself, I am sure I’m not alone. But how does one address this issue? Answer, look for the blind spots and deal with them! However, how do we identify the blind spots? I look personally to three source for my self-leadership:
- My wife
- Co-workers and staff
These sources provide direct and/or indirect insights to the areas I need to change or improve. With this information, I can apply these five principles.
- Control Emotions – Like anyone else, leaders have emotions. In fact, I believe a leader’s emotions can be more powerful due to the passion and desire for success they possess. However, a good leader knows how to control their emotions and display or delay them based on the situation.
- Meditate – Leaders are achievers. And that means they hit the ground running, which leaves little time to stop and think. Spend 30-45 minutes every morning mediating on the things that matter and planning your day.
- Focus Your Effort Where it Matters– A good leader wants to achieve more. They are never satisfied with their achievements. For me, I tend to want to fix everything and solve everyone’s problems. However, to be effective we must learn to focus our efforts on what really matters. I heard John Maxwell say, ” You can’t be 100% all the time.” I find that statement very true. We must identify the times and events where we need to be 100% . Everything else gets a good effort, just not our best.
- Serve Others – Zig Ziggler said, You can have everything in life, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” I am finding this to be very true. Not from a selfish perspective, but simply from putting others first in every action or decision. Throughout my career, I have seen and reaped the benefits of putting others first by gaining their respect, commitment and dedication. I simply look at it as, “you reap what you sow.”
- Get a Coach and/or Mentor – We all need to keep our minds sharp and our thoughts and ideas flowing freely. Our minds can freeze or we experience those “blind spots” that throw us for a loop. As a Coach and Mentor, I see the benefit from asking stimulating questions and the ability to seek wisdom and advice from others. I personally have at least five mentors that I can rely on for helping to address questions or walk me through situations. I sleep better knowing I have access to these individuals. I also can call several coaching colleagues for encouragement and guidance when needed.
Take the time to evaluate the effectiveness of your self-leadership to these five principles. Then establish a process where you consistently work to apply these principles and improve where needed.
A leader’s greatest challenge and most difficult task, is self-leadership. If you lead yourself correctly, you will influence others and they will follow. Failure to manage your self-leadership will create a loss of respect and the inability to influence, causing people to leave and follow others.