Lead yourself exceptionally well
Every now and then at a conference, sharp young kids will come up to me and tell me how much they want to become great leaders and how hard they’re working to learn and grow. But then they’ll lament, “I don’t have anyone to lead yet.”
My response is to tell them, “Lead yourself. That’s where it all starts. Besides, if you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else?”
Have you ever worked with people who didn’t lead themselves well? Worse, have you ever worked for people in leadership positions who couldn’t lead themselves? What do they do other than set a bad example? They’re like the crow in a fable I once read. The crow was sitting in a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?”
“Sure,” answered the crow, “why not?” So the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, following his example. All of a sudden a fox appeared, pounced on the rabbit, and ate him.
The tongue-in-cheek moral of the story is that you’re going to sit around doing nothing all day, you had better be sitting very high up. But if you are down where the action is, you can’t afford to be sitting around doing nothing. The key to leading yourself well is to learn self-management. I have observed that most people put too much emphasis on decision making and too little on decision managing. As a result, they lack focus, discipline, intentionality, and purpose.
I believe this is so firmly that I wrote an entire book on it called Today Matters. The thesis of the book is that successful people make right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. We often think that self-leadership is about making good decisions every day, when the reality is that we need to make a few critical decisions in major areas of life and then manage those decisions day to day.
Nothing will make a better impression on your leader than your ability to manage yourself. If your leader must continually expend energy managing you, then you will be perceived as someone who drains time and energy. If you manage yourself well, however, your boss will see you as someone who maximizes opportunities and leverages personal strengths. That will make you someone your leader turns to when the heat is on.
Reprinted with permission from The John Maxwell Company and Inspire Leadership Consultancy. Attend Our First Customer Service Innovation Learning Event with Francis Kong and Customer-Service Guru Merryl Yu. Nov. 9, 2011 at The Crowne Plaza Hotel. Call 687-2614/706-4853 to register. Visit us at www.inspireleaders.com.ph or add us on Facebook-Inspire Leadership Consultancy
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