We can all recognize a good leader when we see one, but defining which qualities and practices make for a brilliant leader is often debated. However, there’s one characteristic and practice that’s a game changer. It’s the one element that is present in the most stellar leaders any of us study or are lucky enough to know: Self-Awareness. A strong sense of Self-awareness, and the ability to use it to lead by example is beneficial to you personally and professionally.
Establishing a Self-leadership program at work to develop the skills of Self-awareness can be extensive, but very rewarding. In this article, I’m sharing four (4) benefits and questions to ask to help you and your teams understand the skills and measurable results of Self-leadership so you can set your company and your people up for brilliant growth.
What is Self-Leadership?
There are many translations for the term “Self-Leadership” and they all center around the inner self. It’s a self-influence process where individuals achieve the self-direction and self-motivation necessary to perform, and perform well. It consists of specific strategies designed to positively influence personal effectiveness.
Practicing Self-Leadership means consciously actualizing your highest potential. It’s choosing a life of pleasure and purpose and sustaining the subsequent behaviors needed to live it and live it well. Don’t we all deserve that?
Why Invest in Self-Leadership at Work?
Leadership isn’t just about a title. The influence and impact of leadership happens in a variety of ways at every level of an organization. And, it starts with a person’s sense of Self. When an individual has a strong sense of Self, combined with the awareness and skill-set to expand their potential and increase their levels of productivity and performance, they win and the organization wins.
For example, the goals you set are a reflection of what’s important to you, what’s important to the company and the impact you wish to have on both the people you hire and serve internally, and the customers you impact and serve externally. When you prioritize and value strong, well-grounded Self-Leadership strategies & techniques, employees receive the individual skills needed to expand their capacity and elevate their level of play. These Self-led individuals then move the entire organization forward with expanded capacity and an elevated state of play.
Self-Leadership is an essential practice for businesses of all sizes and benefits both the individual members of a team and the organization as a whole.
What does the individual get?:
- She gets that energy is the fundamental currency of self-leaders.
- She gets that she must honor the worth of her own voice.
- She gets that the first form of communication is meant to connect.
- She gets that she must actively and empathically listen so she can offer sensitive, perceptive and appropriately supportive words and actions.
- She gets that life happens one conversation at a time.
- She gets that she is the only one who can and should write her story.
- She gets that when she leads herself well, she is an even more brilliant leader of others.
How does the organization benefit?
- Self-Leadership makes teams more efficient and productive.
- Self-Leadership keeps your teams motivated and accountable.
- Self-Leadership helps teams build stronger relationships among themselves and others.
- Self-Leadership helps teams communicate better, stay more connected, and collaborate more productively and creatively.
- Self-Leadership fosters more robust dialogue, the challenging of ideas, collaborative problem-solving, and innovation.
4 Benefits of Your Self-Leadership Program
In order for any leadership development program to thrive in your organization, Self-Leadership must be a foundational strategy from the frontline to the C-suite. So, how do you get there? What does it take to design and implement a Self-Leadership culture in your workplace? Here are four benefits and questions to set you and your colleagues up for success:
- Independent Thinking Self-leaders question decisions, challenge the status-quo and seek innovation and change for the betterment and progress for all. With highly skilled Self-leaders you experience less micromanaging and more self-directed, motivated and productive team members. These Self-directed team members collaborate, question, challenge one another and contribute to turning your vision into measurable and profitable outcomes. How is independent, critical thinking encouraged & supported in our culture?
- Increased Confidence Self-leaders possess a confidence aspired to by others and inspiring to all. Self-leaders know their voice matters, both internally and externally. Internally, this feeling of value and worthiness comes from a strong sense of Self and a well-defined Essential Self that is aligned on a path of pleasure and purpose. Externally, this confidence comes from being seen, being heard, and being recognized as a significantly contributing player on the team. How much do we recognize individual contribution, and how much do we ensure an individual’s strengths & talents align with their job responsibilities?
- Empathic Leadership A highly effective Self-Leadership program provides specific education and training opportunities on the strategies, habits and competencies of Self-Leadership. Learning to lead yourself is NOT the same as learning to lead others and should be treated as a distinctly different skillset. Conducting interactive & engaging workshops on topics such as Self-Awareness, Emotional Intelligence, Self-discipline and mindset then allows a healthier and more seamless creation of a cohesive, aligned culture where managers and leaders know how to listen, actively engage, meaningfully motivate, elevate performance and resolve conflict. How well are we investing in the Self-Leadership skills needed for our organization’s expansion & growth?
- Alignment When every player in your organization is on the same Self-Leadership page, playing the same game, you win more. From creating an onboarding process, to investing in senior management skills, Self-Leadership is a critical thread to weave throughout your organization and should be made a key component of your playbook. When we lead ourselves well, we lead others well. When strong Self-Leaders become strong leaders of teams, regions, divisions and global cross-functional areas, profitable outcomes grow exponentially. Profitable outcomes that can be measured from dollars, to time, to increased efficiencies, to retention of talent, to breakthrough ideas, innovative products and more. How might we weave Self-leadership skills into the fabric of our leadership development initiatives?
Ultimately, your organization’s success depends on the commitment and proactive behavior of those on the front line, which can and will be reflective of the attitudes and commitment of those higher in the organization. When you provide individual contributors with the Self-Leadership skills and mindset they need to meet and exceed their goals, you build a healthy and empowered workforce that is accountable, innovative, and productive.