Lead Yourself First

We all have heard that great leaders exert great influence over others, and that leadership is a guarantor of sustained key performances and therefore leads to better bottom lines. So how do we become great leaders?

To lead others effectively you must be able to lead yourself first. This was the message conveyed by Leadercast 2018. Leadercast is an Atlanta-based leadership development and networking event that is broadcasted live to over 100,000 leaders around the world.

One of Leadercast’s regular speakers is Andy Stanley, an Atlanta-based motivational speaker and author on leadership. In this year’s talk, Stanley states that anyone who wants to lead other people must focus first on self-leadership. One of the biggest challenges faced by leaders is to overcome self-deception, which often results in justifying any bad decisions we have made in the past.

According to Stanley, there are 3 decisions we must make to lead ourselves well:

1) Do not lie to yourself, even when the truth makes you feel bad about yourself.

Exceptional self-leadership requires brutal honesty with oneself. Our culture teaches us that the worst thing is to feel bad about ourselves. Yet is it not much worse to hold on to a bad decision or to continue a situation because we do not want to face the truth about ourselves and our shortfalls? Ask yourself, ‘why am I really doing this?’ And don’t forget that you participated in every bad decision you have ever made!

2) Prioritize what you value most over what you want now.

Exceptional self-leaders lead themselves toward what they value most, not what they want now. An excellent example Stanley used to drive this point home was about eating healthier. We all have been in a situation where we decided that we would like to lose some weight and eat healthier (value) yet would like to eat that very yummy cinnamon bun (want). Stanley challenges us to make decisions on what we value in the long run and not on what we want in the short term.

3) Try not to lead yourself by yourself.

Exceptional leaders choose to surround themselves with people who are moving toward similar values. We should choose friends according to shared values, not interests.

Provide your employees with a good role model, and a leader worth following!