“He that is master of himself will soon be master of others.”
A contemporary paraphrase of the above proverb is, “The person who leads himself or herself will lead others.” Self-leadership is a must if we are going to lead others.
My leadership has been heavily influenced in this area by one of my mentors, Homer Rice who wrote a book about how our fitness to lead others begins with our ability to lead ourselves. (See Leadership Fitness: Developing and Reinforcing Successful, Positive Leaders, by Homer Rice)
We lead ourselves in two critical overlapping areas: life management and time management. Our time is our life. When we manage our time well, chances are greater that we’re managing our life well.
Life management means that we are able to control our goals, emotions, physical well-being (diet, exercise, and sleep), thought patterns, finances, positive habits and personal growth plans.
Time management means that we can create priorities and get done the things that need to be done in an efficient and effective manner. We can organize our day and give our energy to the most important matters at hand.
In moments of brutal honesty, I ask myself, “Knowing what I know about myself, would I follow me?”
Have I forfeited my leadership influence because I lack self-discipline?
My answers to those questions guide me to make the necessary changes in self-leadership.
Our credibility as leaders depends on our ability to lead ourselves. If I show up late, don’t return phone calls and turn in a mediocre performance I’m giving my team members an excuse to do the same.
Lead yourself and you’ll have the credibility to lead others.
What practices do you have in place that ensure good self-leadership?