No, great leaders also, and maybe more importantly, are great self-leaders. They know, lead and manage themselves in such a way that they can have a better impact on the world around them – as leadership is all about influencing others.
Surprisingly though, self-leadership is rarely taught in such a way that self-awareness and social awareness become empowering and success creating.
And there may be good reasons for this, such as not realising the potential of it, dismissing the idea of self-leadership as something vague and “fluffy” or simply not knowing how to go about it.
Yes, it may be easier to focus on what’s going on outside of people; adjusting actions and behaviours, adding or changing processes and procedures, adjusting the business tools – to aim to achieve better results.
But as we are human beings, everything we do is driven by what’s going on inside – how we think and feel, and how we look at ourselves and others. And as such, to be able to know ourselves and lead and manage ourselves is a deciding factor in the results we get.
I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.
Billie Jean King
Yes, to lead ourselves effectively is the responsibility of each of us, and one worth taking seriously. It’s a life-long journey and one definitely worth travelling. With it we can make better decisions and feel happier about the choices we make. We can communicate more effectively with others, we can collaborate better – which we all need as no one is an island – to get better, more sustainable results for the future.
The best leaders are indeed great self-leaders:
They have a great sense of purpose, which comes from understanding their own values and strengths
They know what stresses and energises them (and they manage those factors)
They know and understand their impact on others (and they manage that)
They are not in any way perfect (no one is) but they admit when things go wrong (as they are aware of what’s going on around them) and they proactively look for new solutions and proactively learn from it
We are on that life-long journey ourselves. We have also facilitated and coached a few thousand people to effective self-leadership (leading oneself effectively in all aspects of one’s life) over the last 20 years and are continuously blown away by the results people achieve when they decide to live life on purpose and lead themselves, rather than have circumstances dictate how they think, feel and act. It’s a bit like on a plane when you are instructed to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others with theirs. You can’t lead others well if you don’t lead yourself well.
Self-leadership matters. It’s without a doubt a key contributing factor for success and happiness for all people, regardless of their situation, role, age, gender, location etc.
Elisabet Hearn and I wrote this article for wearethecity.com please click the link below to read it