Three ways to lead yourself sounds like an egotistical blog post. I understand your concern. I also realize that the title of this post sounds a bit crazy.
Please consider this counterintuitive concept a critical area for yourself. You see if your “well is dry then others cannot drink.” In other words, without you leading yourself positively you will have nothing to give those you lead and empower. Sure, you may be able to tout the organization’s lofty words or vision for a while, but your energy will eventually fade.
There are three critical ways you need to lead yourself:
First, lead yourself with integrity. To have integrity for yourself means making sure that your leadership is congruent with your values. Your values are created from your life story and your story informs the way you lead. If you do not believe it pick up the book “True North.” Having a “True North” means staying true to who you are and not living out the purpose of another.
Here is a quote from “True North” quoting William James:
“I have often thought that the best way to define a man’s character is to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which he felt himself most deeply and intensively active and alive. At such moments, there is a voice inside which speaks and says, ‘This is the real me.'”
Personal integrity involves accepting, knowing and embracing who you are as you lead others.
Second, lead yourself by finding times to “recharge the battery.” Hogan Assessments indicates that most leaders fail or derail because they have a high level of stress. Our culture insists that we do more, while threatening the very foundation of who we are. Lead yourself by recharging the battery.
Do you remember Stephen Covey? Let’s revisit the 4 Quadrants of Stephen Covey. Do you recall Quadrant I and Quadrant 4? Most people move in between Quadrant I and Quadrant 4, using Quadrant 4 the not important and not urgent category to quickly recharge the battery. This is unsustainable.
Consider instead the coveted Quadrant II, which includes the important and non urgent aspects of your life. In this quadrant is where a trickle charge occurs. You develop relationships, invest in yourself, consider your life’s strategy and engage in meaningful work. This is where a true battery charge occurs. Are you investing in the “quick charge” of Quadrant 4 or the “trickle charge” of Quadrant II?
Thirdly, lead yourself by using your story to uncover your purpose. Your life’s story has in it elements of great accomplishment, tragedy and relationship success. If you were to create a movie of your life, it would have the ups and downs found at the Cinema. Give yourself some credit. Your story is compelling and it is real. What life events inform the way you do leadership today?
For example: I have told the story of my junior high school experience being one of great tragedy. I was surrounded by teachers who had the greatest opportunity to really impact my life for good. They were leaders, yet they were uninspiring, with the exception of one. That tragic season of my life has moved me into a place of wanting to see leaders and their people flourish.
What about you? What elements of your story move you to a vision or a purpose? You can lead yourself by crafting that vision or purpose.
You do indeed deserve to be led. The challenge for many leaders is that they are so immersed in leading others that they do not tend to themselves.
Your people cannot drink from a dry well or receive development from someone who lacks passion, energy and enthusiasm for their work. In fact, it is your ceiling that should become their foundation for growth.
You have the capability to be an exceptional leader. You probably already are and yet you find yourself a bit dry and tired. You need to lead yourself, so that you can lead others.