A Self Leadership Checkup

Everybody says we need Authentic Leadership right now, perhaps more than ever before. Well it must be true since everybody can’t be wrong. But it seems to me most people talking and writing about leadership these days are missing an important point.

Before you can lead others authentically you must effectively lead yourself.

If you’re an Authentic Leader then you know the people you lead really need you now. That’s because especially in challenging times people need to be led, not managed. But you’re people too. You need leadership as much as anyone. The difference is you may well have to lead yourself.

So let’s do a quick checkup on your self-leadership skills.

You know that your people need some extra inspiration right now. They look to their leaders to provide it. But it’s pretty tough to inspire others if you’re not inspired yourself. In those quiet moments (perhaps few and far between right now) how are you staying inspired? What does your “self-talk” sound like? Are you aggressively looking for positives to keep your mindset where it needs to be.

It’s as easy for a leader’s attitude to go south as it is for anyone else. If you’re going to keep other people’s spirits up them you’ll have to keep yours up first. Find the possibilities in every challenge. Problems are an opportunity to learn and grow. They provide the chance to become better and more nimble.

Coach yourself to see obstacles as growth opportunities. Remember, your people will do what you do far faster than they will do what you say. Model the attitude and mindset that you want your people to possess.

You are the master of your emotions, no one else. If you do not make the conscious choice of a positive attitude every single day then a subconscious choice will be made for you by events and circumstances. It will not be a choice that serves you well.

Positive attitudes do not happen by chance, they happen by choice.

How are you doing with time management? If you’re suddenly finding yourself leading from home you may find that you don’t have the same level of discipline that comes with working in an office environment.

Setting daily goals can help with this. Goals create discipline. Discipline is simply choosing between what you want now and what you want most. Your goals should be what you want most. Holding yourself accountable to do the same amount of work at home that you would do in the office requires that you keep in mind what you want most.

The “work things” that you may be less accountable to accomplish right now are the means to the things you want most. When my daily work goals are achieved I allow myself what I want most. That would be ice cream! If the work isn’t crossed off my list then the ice cream doesn’t cross my lips.

It is important to remember that no one on earth has more time than you do. No matter how pressured you may feel you do not, I repeat, you do not have a shortage of time. What you most likely do have is a lack of prioritization skills.

Pursue those daily goals with the zeal of a crazy person and you’ll discover you have all the time you need to accomplish every one of your goals.

Are you carefully choosing your words? A leader’s words carry more weight. In challenging times they weigh even more. Choose your words to convey the exact message you’re trying to get across. Remember how you say something can be even more important than the something you say. Are you being mindful of your tone? It is likely you’re doing more communication over the phone than normal. People can’t read your body language so they use the tone of your voice to decipher the meaning of what they are hearing.

It is your responsibility to make sure they are hearing what you intend for them to hear.

Leading others begins with leading yourself exceptionally well. These three areas are not the only leadership skills to focus on for exceptional self-leadership but they will get you on the right path to being a leader who is prepared to lead others in turbulent times.

17 thoughts on “A Self Leadership Checkup

  1. Like the article. I would like to share on LinkedIn but do not see a link. May I copy and paste this into LinkedIn, and of course including you as Author as shown at the top of the post?

    1. Hi Stephan, thanks for your kind words. Yes, I’ve already put it out on LinkedIn and a couple of others did as well. I’d bet I’ll post it again in a day or two as well. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Thank you. This is so helpful.. reading about goals usually bores me however, I am quite inspired!
    I was drawn into the content due to the clarity of the writing. Great!

  3. Steve, two of these points spoke very strongly to me,

    1. Emotional control : such a key piece, as a leader – the direction of projection of these emotions are so important. I’ve seen people project their anger and frustration which at times has its value but can be very detrimental if not projected in the right direction

    2. Self management : A leader is seen by his/her actions. If they struggle to manage themeselves or walk the talk it all crumbles very soon ..

    I suppose leadership in general is hard. Not a lot of them talk about authentic leadership, this was a refreshing read

    1. Thank you, leading yourself is something too many people in leadership positions forget about. Especially in challenging times. Their leadership focus is turned outward and they forget they are the model for their people’s actions. It’s hard because a leader is always “on” when they are in the presence of their people. But hard does not mean impossible… so we just continue to work at it.

  4. This is a great reminder for self reflection; something I feel is vital in leadership. Confucius once said, “Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous.” I find it important for leaders to learn how to be still. It is through these times of reflection and stillness that we can reflect on our self and our goals and make wise decisions to better ourselves as leaders. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You’re very welcome. It’s hard to be still and it’s harder to focus without being still. There is strength in reflecting on our recent past, what went well and what we could have done better. History is a great teacher but only if we are a willing student.

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