Whilst leadership focuses on leading others, self- leadership is your ability to manage your own thoughts, behaviours and emotions. The bottom line is if you are unable to lead yourself, how can you effectively lead your life or lead others?
I believe there is an art to developing self -leadership and it’s a practice that is going to become more and more important in the workplace and in life. There are three key elements that make up self- leadership.
1. Self- Awareness
Self- awareness is the starting point for developing self- leadership. Self -awareness is the ability recognise and understand your emotions, drives and habits and how they affect others.
With self-awareness you can observe when a person, situation or even a thought, triggers you. Becoming familiar with conscious and unconscious habits and behaviours enables you to start making changes.
With greater self-awareness you create a gap between your reactions and the decisions you make, leading to more productive actions.
2. Self -Compassion
We often let our thoughts define who we are. Self-compassion is about being kind to yourself, supportive and understanding. It’s knowing that making a bad decision does not make you a bad person.
Research has shown that people who have more self-compassion have overall life satisfaction, balanced relationships and happiness. We all have bad days, however being self-critical, judging yourself or beating yourself up won’t help. It’s about accepting that you are human and you will make mistakes. Maintaining faith in your own potential will boost your self-worth and resilience.
3. Self -Accountability
Self-accountability is the willingness to accept the outcome of the choices you have made. Holding yourself to account requires honesty, self-reflection and a belief in what you are doing. When you do this you stop blaming, complaining and making excuses by taking 100% responsibility for the results.
It’s easy to claim responsibility when you succeed. Not so easy when you fail, yet a truly responsible person accepts responsibility either way.
There is a Chinese proverb which says ‘Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.’
In essence, what you think, you become. There are many things you can do to develop self-awareness such as journaling, yoga, mindfulness, breathing and meditation which all help to you to become familiar with your thoughts.
Awareness is being able to notice your thoughts. Letting go of the constant inner chatter without analysing or judging your thoughts you simply start to become aware of how think, act and feel.