Leaders love leading. They cannot run from it, leadership finds them. When we talk about leading, we usually are referring to others, right?
Well, there is an idea that I want to propose to you wherever you are in leadership right now. Here it is: You cannot lead others well or be led by someone else until you have first led yourself well.
Some of you, especially if you are new to your leadership journey find yourself frustrated, because you are waiting until you have a following to influence those around you.
Here is the truth that I want to propose to you in this post, all of us have the power to lead at least one person and that person is yourself. We all can lead ourselves well.
Your organization may help you develop. Your mentor may help you develop. Your boss may help you develop, but ultimately the responsibility of personal development is our responsibility. We must own the responsibility of leading ourselves well.
Thomas Watson, former CEO of IBM says it this way, “Nothing proves a man’s ability to lead others well than what he does day by day to lead himself.”
So if you are not leading yourself well, you cannot lead others or be led by someone else.
So, how do we lead ourselves well? Glad you asked. Here are four things that every one of you can do right now to lead yourself well.
1. Be Disciplined
It amazes me how so many people lack discipline. I am shocked as I work with other leaders how many are just not disciplined in their work or personal life.
To lead yourself well now, you must practice and be intentional about becoming more disciplined.
Discipline means follow through. It means doing what is expected of you and doing your very best at it. Even if there is no pay check.
Discipline is being on time. Young leaders, don’t waste the time of someone who is pouring into you. Be on time to things.
Get up early.
Do more than is required of you. If you want to stay in your current leadership position and never move up, do the least amount that is expected of you.
Be prepared. Come to every meeting ready to take notes. Come to every meeting with ideas. Attend every meeting having processed what the meeting is about.
This is discipline. Every one of you can be disciplined regardless of age or current position.
Discipline is not something that you grow into. It is something that you work into.
2. Model Followership
Young leaders today run when they feel that they cannot follow their boss.
I get it, I have been there.
Now before I get into this, I want to narrow our thinking. I am not referring to a boss who is doing unethical things or things you fundamentally disagree with.
I am talking about a leader that leads differently than you. A leader who has a different personality than you. A leader who is hard on you.
So many young leaders walk away from positions because they disagree with their leader over the things mentioned above.
If you want to be led well, model followership right now. Show it off. Show others around you how to follow your leader. It can change your organization.
3. Evaluate Your Why
So many good leaders evaluate their behaviors; great leaders evaluate their motives.
In leadership, the why is so much more important than the how or what.
Is your motive so that people will like you? Is your motive to build a name for yourself? Is your motive pride?
Great leaders spend time evaluating their motives.
4. Seek Accountability and a Mentor
If I could go back and start all over in my leadership, I would have started to ask for help much earlier in life.
I was always afraid to ask for help, because I felt that asking for help made me vulnerable and it appeared that I did not know what I was doing.
You also need someone you are accountable to.
Here is the reason: Healthy accountability leads to spiritual integrity.
We all want spiritual integrity, but few do what is necessary to obtain that goal. It is the small things in life that no one sees (accountability) that usually result in the big things that everyone wants (integrity).
You should have 2-3 people in your life where you can be 100% honest with.
You need someone pouring into you.
How are you leading yourself?
Leading yourself is so important and is essential to leading others.
I want to hear from you about how you are leading yourself. What are you doing that possibly is not on this list? Leave a comment and let us learn from each other.