The Best Leaders, Lead Themselves Well

So let me ask; would you follow you?

“Research shows that transformational leaders – leaders who are positive, inspiring, and who empower and develop followers – are better leaders,” explains psychologist and leadership expert Ronald E. Riggio. “They are more valued by followers and have higher performing teams.”

The best leaders I have known lead themselves well.  Here are examples of leading well:

Take responsibility.

Being responsible means taking ownership of what must get done.  Great leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame for failures and then work on how to fix the problem.

Continuous learning and improvement.

Leaders must be learners.  This is part of who they are.  Learning includes reading, listening to podcasts, engaging in presentations, and relearning skills that you haven’t practiced in a long time.

Goal setters.

Leaders have written down goals and hold themselves accountable.  They keep their priorities in order.  Did you know that 98% of people don’t have goals?  People tend to run their lives without a plan.  Shawn Doyle says, “No one can hit a target that isn’t in view or reach a goal that isn’t defined.  Once you know yours and your organizations’—bull’s eye.”

Confident.

Leaders must be able to have the confidence to make decisions.  A leader’s job can also be putting out fires and keeping up team morale.  Remember that the team takes cues from you.  Keep it calm and confident.  Don’t confuse confidence with being cocky.  You want people to follow you, not want to punch you in the face.

As Francisco Dao says, “Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows.  Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand.  It may have a nice coat of paint, but it is ultimately shaky at best.”

Disciplined.

So many qualities can make you a good leader, but only one brings about the most success in life:  self-discipline.  A leader is disciplined in many areas including time management, sleep, exercise and healthy eating.  A 2013 study indicated that people with high self-control are happier than those without.  Self-discipline is a learned behavior that requires day to day practice.

Delegate.

Leaders trust others and delegate tasks that will free them to work on other things.   Improve productivity by having your team share in input and problem-solving.  By sharing the responsibility of work, you are showing the team you have confidence in their abilities.  Although it takes time and energy to delegate as a leader, it leads to employee empowerment and success.

“Even “Super You” needs help and support.  There is no shame in asking for assistance.  Push aside the pride and show respect for the talent others can bring to the table.  And, remember that there is no such thing as a single-handed success:  when you include and acknowledge all those in your corner, you propel yourself, your teammates and your supporters to greater heights.”- Author Unknown

Commitment.

Leaders should avoid the “commitment drift.” With the pressure and high demand of success, leaders experience this “commitment drift” which causes broken promises.  Commit to hard work and keeping your word.  Team members will be more loyal to a leader who is willing to “work in the trenches” when needed.  Leaders should be the most committed and hardworking ones on the job.   It is always important to keep your promises and gain the respect of your team.

Take a moment and evaluate yourself.  Start working on becoming a better leader by leading yourself well.  Everyone has the potential to be an excellent leader- will you choose to lead well?