Lots of books and articles have been written about leadership in the past. And in today’s world, leadership “experts” abound in print, media and cyberspace.
Over the years I’ve learned a few things about leadership. The first is how little I really know about it! The second is the recognition that the toughest person to lead is myself!
I’m convinced that a lot of the issues we face in leading others take care of themselves as we learn to better lead ourselves. If you want to be a better leader for others, the best place to start is with you. If you can’t lead you, you’ll never effectively lead anyone else.
Self-leadership involves some very important elements:
Self-awareness in the ability to accurately and insightfully look at and evaluate yourself. It’s the ability to see who and what you really are in character. It’s the ability to spiritually and mentally reflect on your personal attitudes, actions and words to determine if they are what they really need to be or should be. Self-awareness is necessary for growth, humility and maturity. Self-awareness leads to personal insight, which is essential for self-development. This is one of the most important “self skills” we can develop.
Self-control is the ability, and the willingness, to put the brakes on your passions and desires. The self-controlled person is led by principles, not by emotions. Self-control brings appropriate restraints to your actions, attitudes and communication.
Self-discipline is another part of self-control. Self-control rightly restrains us. Self-discipline rightly engages us. The self-disciplined person builds the right practices into their life. They do what needs to be done, even when they may not feel like doing it. They consistently do what they should do because it’s right, healthy, holy, and helpful.
Self-sacrifice is the willingness to lay down personal comfort, ambiltions, agendas, interests and plans for something bigger than oneself. Self-sacrificing people live for larger causes. They have relinquished “self-centric” thinking and living.
A selfless person cares about, thinks about, and works to assist, promote, encourage, bless, stengthen and give to others. The top concern of a selfless person is for others.
The greatest leadership challenge we ever face is with ourselves. Ask God to help you deal with you. Start leading yourself toward self-awareness, self-control, self-discipline, self-sacrifice and selflessness. When you do, you’ll truly have something worth giving to others — a great example!