How To Effectively Lead Yourself

A huge amount has been written over the years about leadership and yet we still seem to be pretty poor at it. It is my belief that one of the main reasons for this is that whilst you can go on lots of courses on how to lead others and teams we forget that if you don’t know how to effectively lead yourself, you can’t hope to lead others.

Begin by asking yourself if you are the sort of leader that you would like to follow. Do you exhibit those things that are thought to be attractive in a good leader and can you apply them to yourself?

According to theĀ Centre For Creative Leadership there are twelve essential leadership qualities and these make a great start to see how to effectively lead yourself.

  1. Self Awareness – Do you really understand your own strengths and weaknesses or do you believe your own publicity?
  2. Respect – Do you respect yourself and your true value?
  3. Compassion – Do you listen to yourself and avoid beating yourself up over every mistake or failure? Do you give yourself another chance when things go wrong and also time to get over disappointment and failure?
  4. Vision – One of the most important. Do you have a vision for yourself, do you fully understand that vision and do you ensure that you are constantly moving toward it? A leader without a vision is no leader at all. What’s your vision?
  5. Communication – This may seem a strange one when leading yourself but do you really communicate your vision to yourself such that you can improve continuously? If you can’t communicate your vision clearly to yourself how can you expect to communicate it to others, let alone expect them to follow you towards it?
  6. Learning Agility – Great leaders are great learners. Are you constantly encouraging yourself to learn more and actually continuously learning?
  7. Collaboration – Do you embrace collaboration or do you always want to be “top dog”? Can you persuade yourself to work with others or do you believe you are the only person who can do a good job? Effective leaders always collaborate.
  8. Influence – Do you constantly influence yourself to “get the job done”? Can you persuade yourself to do the right thing rather than what you might want to do? Can you influence yourself with your vision or are you always influenced by others? There’s a reason the best salespeople on social media are called influencers.
  9. Integrity – Can you honestly look yourself in the eye and be comfortable with what you are doing? Are you doing things because you believe in them or because you want to “go with the flow” or impress others?
  10. Courage – Very much linked to integrity. Do you have the courage to tell yourself what you really think about yourself? Do you have the courage to say “no” to others?
  11. Gratitude – Are you grateful for what you have? Do you stand back and say thank you to yourself for all you have achieved?
  12. Resilience – Do you bounce back from setbacks and failures? Do you realise that there are some things you can’t change and are you resilient to all the changes that inevitably happen to you?

To the above I would add Organisation.

Are you organised? Good, effective leaders cannot be a shambles. They cannot blunder from one crisis to another leaving a shambles in their wake. Are you able to organise yourself? If you cannot organise yourself you cannot hope to lead others.

There you have it then. If you can’t effectively lead yourself, you can’t effectively lead others. If you want to be a good leader then begin with yourself. The easiest team to lead is a team of one where you are the only member. If we want good leaders in our organisation then we need to ensure we only have people who can effectively lead themselves before we let them loose on others.

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