The Hardest Part of Self-Leadership (Part 1)

My year hasn’t gotten off to the start I’d planned – and it’s my fault. Sure there’s been a lot going on, but several of the things I intended to get done so far this year haven’t happened. So, what I’m thinking about this morning is why is self-leadership so hard?

How do I define self-leadership? Let’s apply Warren Bennis’ description of what leaders do: they turn intention into reality and sustain it. So, self-leadership is the ability to do the same for ourselves – turn intention into reality and sustain it. That’s challenging for me!
I think self-leadership is hard for at least four big reasons – I’m sure there are many others.
1. As leaders, there are many demands on our time. Demands and expectations set by others. If we’re not careful, these outside demands can overwhelm our capacity to lead ourselves well. This is not intended as an excuse, just a reality to be managed.
2. We live in a world focused on today – not tomorrow. If we are not extremely vigilant, this short-term mentality will infect our thinking as leaders. Leadership is a life-long journey. We’ve got to work extremely hard to keep the urgent (seemingly urgent) things from pushing out the more important things.
3. We undervalue the benefit of leading ourselves well. If we consistently fail to lead ourselves well, there are consequences – maybe not today or tomorrow, but the consequences are real. One of them: People always watch the leader. If we can’t lead ourselves well, it will, over time, undermine the confidence others place in us as leaders.
4. I’m often too lazy to do what I know I should do. More times than I like to admit, I don’t want to do the things I say are important to me. I’d rather take a nap than go to the gym. I’d rather sleep 15 minutes later than start my day in prayer and solitude. I don’t know if it’s just me, but too often, I’d just prefer to do nothing… and that certainly includes self-leadership!
So, let’s assume I’ve captured some of the reasons self-leadership is hard, what do we do? I’ll write about that in my next post… [GLS_Shield]
Why do you think self-leadership is so difficult?


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