One of the most common trends I came across since the economic crisis hit internationally is a prominent insufficiency of self-leadership. There are many reasons for having low self-leadership, such as fear, lack of resources, and/or depression. However, the truth of the matter is that due to multiple factors like globalization, the fast growth of technology and the massive overload of information coming from everywhere, humans are becoming more dependent on others than themselves. This dependency leads to an emotional spiral that unconsciously makes them believe that they are not enough to make things happen by themselves.
The truth of the matter is that, there is someone with whom you spend more time with than any other. A person who has more influence over you and has the power to interfere with or to support your growth more than anyone else; this ever-present companion is your own self.
In fact, we argue that if we ever hope to be effective leaders of others, we must first be effective leaders of ourselves. So, my question to you is; what does self-leadership mean to you?
There are endless definitions and descriptions for leadership. For now, I invite you to identify "leadership" as "a process of influence." Having spent most of my personal and professional career among influencers, I recognize through practice and experience that this short yet powerful definition acknowledges not only the importance of human influence in the determination of what we are and what we do, but also the complex nature of leadership -- that is, influence is not an isolated event, but a process involving many parts.
In addition, our greatest potential source of leadership and influence comes not from an external leader or influencer, but from within ourselves. We could say that Self-leadership is "the process" of influencing oneself to establish the self-direction and self-motivation needed to achieve results utilizing behavioral and mental techniques.
If you are new to these concepts, some of the behavioral self-leadership techniques involve:
- Management of antecedents to behavior (e.g., cues, distractions)
- Modification of consequents to behavior (e.g., self-reinforcement, self-punishment)
- Creation of an action plan with measurable results
Among many others mental self-leadership techniques include:
- Examination and alteration of self-dialogue
- Beliefs and assumptions
- Mental imagery/visualization
- Thought patterns (habits in one’s thinking)
- Passion to keep learning from yourself and others
Considering that humans perform better when belonging to multiple different communities, self-leadership is a concept that needs to be addressed in equilibrium. Effective self-leadership is not founded on narcissistic or "blindly" independent self/employee behaviors with total disregard to the work group or organization/community. Rather, effective self-leadership involves a coordinated effort between the self/employee and the group/community and/or organization as a whole. In other words, effective self-leadership involves achieving balance between focusing on the cohesiveness of a work group/community/organization, while focusing on the value and identity of each individual self/employee.
An effective self-leadership approach encourages individuals to find their own personal identity and mode of contribution within a group or organization, producing a stable relationship and synergistic performance.
Indeed, effectively self-led employees, both behaviorally and cognitively, may offer the best blueprint for achieving employee and organizational effectiveness in the 21st century. My proposal for you is to always visualize a life that is exactly as you want it to be. When you set your goal in your mind, you engage the power of your subconscious that will help you build winning habits to bring your dream to life. Progressively take initiatives and start moving towards your goals and set up measurable results to keep your self-motivation alive throughout the process. Since you won’t know how long this journey will take you, challenge assumptions, champion transformation, take risks and experiment. And always remember that there is no failure, only feedback.
Do something for yourself today that your future will thank you for and share it with me in the comment section, I would love to hear about it!
– Jamie Paolinetti