Before leading others effectively, you must first lead yourself. True leadership begins internally, with your thoughts, behaviours and resulting actions and your ability to manage and communicate these to positive effect. It is important to be able to manage yourself with integrity, consistency and professionalism at all times and to do so in all situations, whether alone or with others.
To be an effective self-leader you need to take time to understand yourself, your core values, your strengths, areas for development, and the thoughts and emotions that drive your behaviours. You need to be able to pause, step back and reflect on a situation. This ability to observe and shape your thoughts, emotions and behaviour enables you to think critically and to respond with choice and intention, taking responsibility for your actions and impact.
At all levels of leadership, being able to communicate effectively is crucial and at this level, it is important to develop your skills to communicate your thoughts clearly, articulately and with confidence. Empathy, the ability to listen effectively and ask good questions are key components to good communication.
Finally, to be an effective leader of self, you must take responsibility for your own development. Having a clear vision of your goals and the leadership qualities you wish to possess, is crucial in your development as a leader.
Developing your personal leadership capabilities is not only an important first step in the leadership pathway, it is something that you should continually do throughout your career. Part of that responsibility is to seek whatever support that you may need to build your skills, your network and your resilience.
Self-leadership is the cornerstone of effective leadership. While it develops from the inside out, its effects are felt not only by you, but also by others around you and it determines your ability to lead others positively.