If You Want To Be An Effective Leader Then Lead Yourself First

The trouble with so many “leaders” is that they are so busy trying to lead others that they forget to lead themselves. The founder of VISA Dee Hock has stated that if you want to be a leader then you should invest at least 40% of your time in leading yourself. That’s why if you want to be an effective leader then lead yourself first.

Ask yourself if you were being led by you how happy would you be with you as a leader?

Remember even if you work by yourself, you are leading a team of one and many people are so busy doing their job that they forget to lead themselves towards their objective.

A leader who is unable to organise themselves is unlikely to be respected by those he or she hope to lead. A recent article in Forbes magazine looked at the three things to succeed in leadership. They are: Autonomy, Competence and Caring. Ask yourself how well do I rank against these criteria?

Do you really have autonomy to take decisions and the empowerment to carry them out? If you don’t then you are a manager doing the bidding of others, not a leader and others will see you in a management capacity not a leadership one.

How do you sit on the competence scale? How much of your time do you invest in your own development? So many so-called leaders are happy to send those below them on training and development courses but never go themselves. They see themselves as too busy (and maybe too important) for that kind of thing. If you want to lead by helping people develop then you should be doing the same for yourself. Too often I end up training everyone in the organisation except the “higher” levels. What message does that send to everyone in the team? The answer is simple “I know it all and don’t need to increase my knowledge and skills but those of you below me do.”

Finally, we have caring. In so many badly run organisations we see the policy of “nobody leaves before the boss.” If you really want to be a good leader, then lead by example. People leaving before you may well be the ones to be praised, they have got their life balance better sorted Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist and those who are staying really late should be helped to achieve their objective in a more effective way. We know that once someone has worked more than about forty hours a week, they become ineffective and so what is the message that leaders who stay at work until all hours sending?  The answer is simple either “I am not a normal human being” (we can all think of an example here) or “I am happy to ignore science and work in a way that is not effective, and I expect you to be less than effective as well.”

So, there you have it. If you want to be an effective leader then lead yourself first.

By the way. Those of you who are regular readers will remember that one of the objectives of last week was to begin the YouTube version of this blog. If you feel it is an effective thing for you, please pop over to Moving From Productivity To Effectiveness where you will find the first video.

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