‘Self Leadership is about awareness, tolerance, and not letting your own natural tendencies limit your potential’.-Scott Belsky.
In case you missed it…
To summarize Part 1 or our 3-part series on Leadership ‘The Perception of Leadership Exposed.
- There is no magic pill or quick solution to great leadership.
- Society’s perception of great leadership may be skewed.
- You should not be fooled by only viewing the results or fruits of famous leaders’ labor, by looking through a limited lens.
I find the topic of ‘leadership’ fascinating, especially peoples’ perception of great or impactful leadership.
For example, my coaching conversations about ‘leadership’ always begin with my clients trying to manipulate and control external factors.
For example, processes, people, and targets.
The belief is that when we become experts in these areas, we will become great leaders.
Although this is true to an extent, the real secret to becoming a great leader is not about title, power or money.
It is about the journey to becoming a…
Masterful manager of yourself!
This means focusing on YOU.
And less time focusing on external factors such as:
- And even managing people.
Many of my clients get better results when they shift their focus from others to themselves.
This is called the art of self leadership.
One of my favourite and most powerful quotes in this area reads:
‘Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power’. -Lao Tzu
Before I share the elements of self leadership, take a moment to think about the following exercise.
Take out your journal and ask yourself these powerful questions:
- What is your leadership philosophy?
- Who do you want to become when you are the best version of yourself?
- What kind of leader do you need to become?
- What do you need to change in yourself or leave behind?
Personally, when I think about a great leader, I am drawn to someone who has conquered their limiting beliefs and is a master of self-awareness. Someone who is a role model.
In other words, I am inspired by and want to follow someone who can lead by example.
This does NOT mean the person has to be:
- An expert.
- A great orator.
- Or highly intelligent.
It means they are always striving for….
- Self discovery.
- Self acceptance.
- Self management.
- And self growth.
I consider the most difficult part of a great leaders’ responsibility is self leadership.
Author and leadership coach, John Maxwell shares the importance of taking responsibility for ones own self
mastery, as a leader’s ultimate commitment, in his ‘Minute with Maxwell’ video on Self leadership:
Self Leadership: 3 Elements To Developing A Better Sense Of Self
- THE POWER OF SELF DISCOVERY
‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom’-Kelly Day.
Based on my experience, developing a better sense of self is extremely grounding and at times humbling.
How I think, evaluate, and perceive myself in any situation dictates ‘how I show up’ in the world.
This means learning how to minimize my stress, frustration, and emotional levels during a challenging time or situation.
The route to self discovery is an intentional process and takes time to develop.
During my coaching conversations, it can be difficult (at first) for people to take the time to get in touch with themselves.
In today’s distracted world, we are caught up in the realm of doing; trying to get things done.
Sometimes, we lose focus on who we are in a situation or event.
This can cause us to lose awareness and miss out on subtle adverse shifts in ourselves, especially when we get caught up in the work or the task.
What I have learned is that leadership is not a title – it is a state of mind.
This means using time for self-reflection by taking a step back and reframing from the art of doing, managing, and most important…
Releasing control of your overinflated ego.
This will create a thoughtful space for reflection which allows you to listen, observe your actions and to grow.
Leaders are able to take this step back and reflect.
Great leaders can release what they can’t control and only manage the controllables.
This means understanding that the only thing you can control is your own actions.
And these actions are what people, your team or community sees and role models.
Once you realize the only thing you really control is yourself, it dissolves our ego and raises energy levels.
It stops us from using control as a protective mechanism, leads us to bring our best selves to any situation, raises our power and awareness.
For more information on the process of self discovery and how to raise the bar on your leadership influence, I recommend the book ‘Self Leadership: 12 Powerful mindsets and methods to win in life’ by Andrew Bryant:
2.THE POWER OF SELF ACCEPTANCE
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you know a boss, colleague or spouse who is extremely hard on themselves?
Who is always putting themselves down?
Plays the victim?
Is not accountable or always focusing on the negative and their weaknesses?
This means the person is not accepting who they are at their core.
From a leadership perspective, this self-sabotaging behaviour can jeopardize the road to self-mastery and self-discovery.
I believe you MUST SEE value in yourself TO ADD value to yourself.
Self acceptance means being completely honest and accepting of yourself without criticism or sabotage.
This is one of the most difficult elements of developing a better sense of self.
We tend to focus on the negative aspects of ourselves.
It could encompass all aspects of our career or as parents or friends. For example, feelings of not climbing the ladder fast enough or feeling drained or short on time.
How you feel on the inside is a direct reflection of how you show up and present yourself externally.
Self-acceptance is about acknowledging where things are in the present, understanding your role in it, and owning it.
But the most critical part of working on your journey of self-acceptance is understanding that it is not only characterized as a negative emotion.
In other words, it’s just not about learning to accept your flaws and weaknesses on your path to self-acceptance.
A great leader also recognizes and owns their strengths.
Most people find it easy to share their flaws and weaknesses. In fact, it has become engrained in ourselves to only look at these things during our journey to accepting ourselves.
The truth is that many people find it difficult to openly identify their strengths.
There is power in understanding and believing in the things you are good at.
This is when you achieve self acceptance because your growth as a leader comes from a different place.
It comes from a place of power and acceptance because you are being completely honest with yourself.
This means you take comfort in who you are at your core and more importantly being confident with who you are right now!
Self Acceptance takes time but can be incredibly grounding.
Great leaders master not only this element but are students of this discipline.
The power of self-acceptance is reflected in who you are as a leader and becoming a role model and inspiration.
3.THE POWER OF SELF MANAGEMENT
‘If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself. Do that well and you’ll be ready to stop managing and start leading’. -Mark Gonzales
Self management appears to be overlooked when discussing qualities or traits of great leaders.
Again, sometimes society forgets to recognize how working or not working on ourselves on the inside can affect how we show up and lead.
Self-management is the ability to manage our behaviours, thoughts, and emotions in a mindful and beneficial way.
Self-management means you understand it is your responsibility to invest in yourself, holding yourself accountable, and managing your resources and time effectively.
Holding personal responsibility in the following areas are critical:
- Goal setting.
- Time Management.
- Assess your strengths.
- Prioritize your responsibilities.
- Track & Evaluate progress
Self-management includes all the skills that help us control many areas of our life.
This includes the choices we make, our responses, and our ability to prioritize and control our emotions or thoughts.
Leaders who can self manage are more productive, more focused, and more independent.
Self Management isn’t about pushing yourself to the maximum or overworking.
A great leader understands that time and energy are critical resources and need to be managed daily. It means prioritizing and focusing on the right things that fill your energy levels and not deplete them.
It also means recognizing when time is needed to recharge and refuel.
For more information on boosting energy levels, read my blog post called ‘Feeling drained? 10 habits to boost your energy levels now’
Poor self management affects how you show up to the world.
It can reveal itself in the form of:
- Fire Fighting.
- Low energy.
I believe that self management requires self awareness.
Great leaders are self aware and understand the discipline involved in self management.
Take out your journal and ask yourself these powerful questions about self management:
- What makes me feel powerful?
- What makes me feel calm?
- What makes me feel in control?
- How do I recharge?
- What is a choice I can make this week based on my needs?
- What are my triggers? What happens to me when I am triggered? My behaviour, My voice, my body language? How do I show up?
- How do I remain centered and calm when I am triggered?
Self awareness means you are able to control your impulses, triggers and emotions in a challenging situation or crisis.
Great leaders have mastered this skill and have become inspiration role models as a result.
A great leader understands the path to self discovery means playing the long game.
It means working on self mastery consistently and with intensity.
It’s honoring the journey and monitoring how they show up as role models in their quest for self leadership.
In summary, great leaders master the art of self discovery through:
- Self Discovery.
- Self Acceptance.
- Self Management.
In part 3 of our leadership series, I will discuss qualities that make an effective leader.
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I sincerely wish you the best on your journey to enhance your life!
George Andreas, Founder