“You lead the way, I’m following you closely.”
Leadership is the process of guiding or influencing others. Piece of cake really!! No?
In reality, if you’re already in a position of leadership, you will be acutely aware of the many associated complexities at play here.
So, what can we do to best ensure that we are able to effectively guide and influence others?
How do highly effective leaders consistently achieve their personal, team, and greater organisational goals while protecting their wellbeing and the harmony and performance of those they lead?
You may have come across quotes like: “First be a leader of yourself. Only then can you grow to lead others.” or “To lead others, you must first lead yourself.”
These quotes are all good and well in theory, but where do you start in order to develop skilful self-leadership?
We believe that identifying and improving your self-awareness is an essential starting point. Then you can strategically set a course for personal capability building. Ultimately, by developing your self-leadership capabilities means you’ll naturally influence others.
Let’s first define self-leadership
Self-leadership is the ability to take initiative and responsibility for one’s own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions in order to achieve personal goals. This means we need to be self-aware, identify priorities, and motivate ourself to take action, even in the face of challenges or obstacles. This requires that we manage our own time, resources, and relationships effectively, while remaining adaptable and open to feedback and growth.
Self-leadership is ultimately about taking ownership of our own development and growth.
There isn’t a one-size fits all approach to developing your self-leadership skills but we’ve listed 20 tested strategies below to get you started.
20 Strategies for Improving Self-Leadership
The concept of self-leadership is broad and encapsulates numerous skills and competencies.
These are typically categorized into cognitive, behavioral, and motivational strategies.
9 Cognitive strategies
Cognitive self-leadership strategies enable us to identify ways to implement goal behaviour and efficiently find a way to overcome obstacles and setbacks.
They could include:
- Making connections between your values and self-leadership
- Identifying your strengths and weaknesses (VIA Strengths Survey)
- Identifying desired experiences
- Challenging limiting beliefs
- Identifying cognitive dissonance and attempts to eliminate it
- Practicing sustained positivity
- Cultivating the ability to make good decisions
- Identifying and managing emotional triggers
- Developing a growth mindset
6 Behavioral strategies
Behavioral self-leadership strategies allow you to implement the relevant management actions required to pursue your desired outcome.
- Cultivating self-efficacy
- Building effective habits
- Controlling environmental resources
- Setting and optimising goals and goal plans
- Skilfully reviewing progress
- Ensuring accountability from yourself and others
5 Motivational strategies
Motivational strategies facilitate a sustained drive toward goal behaviours and sufficient capacity for them.
- Identifying internally rewarding actions (intrinsic motivation) when pursuing your goals
- Maximising autonomy, competence, and a sense of relatedness for your goals
- Managing willpower and energy levels
- Cultivating a process orientated mindset and grit
- Identifying and celebrating wins
Our ability to successfully implement many of these strategies can be positively supported by psychometric tests and measures. For example, by undertaking a Mental Toughness Measure, we can better understand how we can further develop grit and a process orientated mindset.
Benefits of Reliably identifying your baseline
There are various reliable psychometric tests and measures that can help us to accurately identify our personal traits, greatly increasing our level of self-awareness. The benefits of using psychometric tests are closely related to the strategies for improving self-leadership, listed above.
These benefits include:
- Increased self-knowledge – gain insight into our personality traits, cognitive abilities, and emotional intelligence. This can lead to a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and help us identify areas for personal growth and development.
- Better decision-making – understanding our own personality and cognitive style, we can make more informed decisions about our career, relationships, and other life choices. This can lead to better outcomes and increased work-life satisfaction levels.
- Improved communication – when we can identify our own, and other’s, communication style/s and preferences, this can lead to more effective and meaningful interactions with others.
- Increased empathy and understanding – being able to acknowledge and understanding our own emotions and thoughts, we can become more empathetic and understanding of others. This can lead to stronger relationships and better soft skills.
- Better mental wellbeing and performance – we can reliably identify issues that are helping or hindering us or blind spots. By identifying these issues we can implement appropriate interventions and capability building to improve our overall well-being and performance.
Overall, psychometrics can be a valuable tool for self-awareness and personal growth, helping individuals gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.
Develop your self-leadership skills
Everything we do is directed by our purpose to use our expertise and knowledge to support people to enjoy greater work-life satisfaction. We believe in challenging the mental health status quo. We believe we should all treat our mental fitness like we treat our physical fitness by translating proven research into practical application for every individual.
We just happen to deliver great workforce solutions. So, if you’re a leader and you’re interested in learning the ‘What’, ‘Why’, and most importantly the ‘HOW’, for leadership growth, check out these programs.
Leader Support – with one-on-one support this customised program is aimed at bolstering your capability, so you can perform under sustained pressure while influencing other’s success.
‘FOCUS’ Leader Program – join the cohort of 2023 where you’ll learn the relevant, practical, knowledge and skills to bolster your self-efficacy and ability to positively influence others.
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