Do you follow you? The ability to lead yourself is the first test of leadership. If you can’t lead yourself then it is beyond silly to believe that you could possibly lead anyone else.
Even though it might sound easy, leading yourself can be a real challenge. When you slow down long enough to even ponder whether or not you would follow you then you’ll discover there is a lot to consider.
How well do you manage your emotions? Are you an emotional wreck? Do you wear your emotions on your sleeve? No one wants to follow someone whose emotions swing from hot to cold in a nano-second. You don’t want to follow that person either, even if that person is you. I could write several posts on the importance of understanding and controlling your emotions but that ability is where you’re ability to lead yourself, and others, begins.
Do you know your priorities? Do you have a plan, goals, and objectives for your life? In short, do you have a vision of where you eventually want to be? If not then I have a question for you… where exactly are you leading yourself? Leading yourself requires that you know yourself. It also requires that you know AND LIVE your core values and principles. Living your principles makes you a pretty attractive leader that others will want to follow as well.
Do you control your thoughts? Your thoughts tend to become your reality so the better your thoughts the better your reality. In those quiet times when there is no one to talk to but yourself you must be very careful about what you’re saying. When it comes to credibility your subconscious believes you’re the most credible person you know. If you talk negatively about yourself then you are going to absolutely believe it. If you think well of yourself then that will be reflected in your actions too. Just a word of caution here… to lead yourself exceptionally well requires that you fully understand the difference between loving yourself and being in love with yourself. One is beneficial, the other… not so much.
Do you manage your time or does your time manage you? I have a very low tolerance for people who tell me that they don’t have enough time. I have that low tolerance because when someone says “don’t have time” what I hear is “I’m too damn lazy to prioritize.”
No one is the entire world has even one more minute in a day then you do. You do not have a shortage of time. If you think you do then please tell me about your core values, your principles, and the priorities that come from them.
I’d bet a bunch of money that you can’t do that. Don’t try to do everything, just do everything that truly matters. When you do things in order of their importance many, many seemingly urgent things just fall away because you discover just how unimportant they really are. To lead yourself exceptionally well you must keep in mind the absolute unimportance of almost everything you do. That becomes much easier when you know what actually is important in your life.
When you’re confident that you’re leading yourself to the life that you want then you’ve passed the first test of leadership. So…can you pass?
3 thoughts on “The First Test of Leadership”
Great list Steve! I just finished an outline for a new self- leadership course for teens, and opened feedly for find your post. Perfectly timed and 100% true. The Dee Hock quote in the image is a favorite too!
Thanks, I’m glad you found the post useful!