Leaders lead others, but don’t you wish that you could control those that you lead? I mean then we could get the results we want, right? Well, maybe, but we cannot control our team as leaders.
In leadership, the only one that you have control over is yourself.
You are in charge of you.
I cannot blame others for my behavior. I cannot blame my boss, my friends, or my coworkers for my performance. I am in charge of me.
You are responsible for how disciplined you are right now.
You are responsible for the decisions that you have made over the last year.
You are responsible for your emotions and behaviors.
We tend to blame others for our lack of development. We say things like, “if my former boss had of poured into me, then I would have been further along.” That is not entirely true though if we are responsible for us.
Listen, here is the big idea about leadership: You are not ready to lead others if you have not first led yourself well.
Here are three ways that you can be a good leader of yourself right now:
1. Discipline yourself
Discipline is something that you know you should do but you really do not want to do.
Think about running and exercising. I hate running, but I know it is good for me so I have to discipline myself to run.
We all look at leaders of many and wish we could walk in their shoes, but here is the point: it is usually the small things in life that no one sees that result in the big things that everyone wants.
Being a leader of many doesn’t have overnight, it is a day to day grind of getting better personally that leads to opportunities to lead others.
So, what does leading yourself have to do with personal discipline.
Read. I have never met a good leader who is not a reader. It is that simple. So…read.
Be in community. You need friends. You need mentors. You need accountability. Only you are responsible for seeking this out so do it, because community will help you become better.
Be on time. This is a pet peeve of mine, but being late to stuff is just bad behavior. Listen, set more alarms if you have to. Go to bed earlier the night before. Give yourself some more buffer time. Just be on time.
Excercise. It is good for you. Great leaders know this and practice this. I am a better leader when I am healthier. When I run and take care of my body, I feel better, think better, and lead better.
Get up early. Great leaders make good use of their morning routine, because when the day starts, it is busy. So, get up early and make good use of your morning routine.
Work ahead. Have a calendar, and work on future projects ahead of time. Don’t procrastinate.
Do more than is required. If you are a young leader reading this, this may impress those above you more than anything else on the list. Go the extra mile. People will notice.
Be prepared. Don’t go to meetings and wing it. People notice, and people will not want to follow an unprepared leader. Spend some time prepping for your meetings.
Manage your time well. Listen, it is easy to waste time on social media or binge watching a show on netflix, but manage your time well. Have a calendar and a schedule and stick to it.
The point is discipline yourself, and only you have the capacity to do any of these simple disciplines.
2. Evaluate your “why”
Good leaders evaluate their behaviors; great leaders evaluate their motives.
Listen, if you want to lead better, have a clear understanding of why you do what you do. When you understand “why,” the “how” and the “what” makes so much more sense to your team.
Craig Groeschel always says, “people will rather follow a leader who is always real than one who is always right.”
Don’t focus on having all of the answers. Focus on having pure motives and a clear understanding for why you do what you do and your organization will grow and respond much better.
3. Ask for help
Listen, although you are responsible for you, I also recognize that we grow best in the context of relationships.
We grow better together.
You need a friend to encourage you.
You need a friend to hold you accountable.
You need a friend to sharpen you.
You need a friend to mentor you.
These relationships matter, but you have to be intentional about all of these relationships. They do not happen by accident. They happen on purpose, and you control that.
Thomas Watson, former CEO of IBM said, “nothing proves a man’s ability to lead others well than what he does day by day to lead himself.”
In other words, you are not ready to lead others if you have not first led yourself well.