Today, in the first video on this topic, I want to discuss with you the dynamic force of Personal Leadership. I am often asked, “What is Personal Leadership, and why is it so important?” It’s a great question and today we will answer it.

Allow me to begin with a comparison. In business, a good leader is an individual who goes beyond managerial skills to focus on the organization’s mission, values, and future. A sound leader considers the following kinds of questions:

  • What is our next step to improve our business; to keep it relevant and growing? 
  • What do we need to start doing more of?
  • What do we need to stop doing that is hurting our potential?
  • If the times (or business) are changing, how can we re-invent our business?

All of these are great questions. Personal Leadership is doing a similar analysis within our own lives. Just like a business needs purpose, guidance, and future direction through internal examination, so do our lives.

When you incorporate the personal leadership philosophy, sometimes also referred to as self-leadership, you choose to seize control of your own life and your own pathway knowing that your culture’s default  “mission statement” will take over if you do nothing. In essence, personal leadership is the ability to lead ourselves

The late Peter Drucker said that being a self-leader is to serve as chief, captain, or CEO of one’s own life. Personal leadership is so important, Drucker once reputedly called it “the only leadership that’s going to matter in the 21st century.”  

If you haven’t seen our videos on creating your own Personal Mission Statement, I encourage you to watch our two videos entitled: 1) “Why most Goals Fail” and  2) “How to Create Your Own Personal Mission Statement.” The process involves asking yourself questions like, “How do I need to “be,” to “act,” and to “think” in order to be my best?”   

Mohandas Gandhi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” In other words, if you truly desire to make the world a better place and leave a legacy in your family or community, the very first place to start is in changing and improving yourself. This is in direct contrast to many of the hypocritical politicians and celebrities today who lecture everyone else about the way they should think, live and act while they themselves act like an exception. 

In order to be long-lasting and truly effective, great “leadership”  has to begin on the inside of us and then radiate to the outside to have a positive influence on others and in the world. 

As the late Dr. Steven Covey wrote, “The ‘Inside-Out’ approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness means to start first with self; even more fundamentally, to start with the most inside part of self — with your paradigms, your character, and your motives.”  If an individual does not use the inside-out approach, their example is superficial and disingenuous. We have all heard of the scornful paraphrase, “do what I say, not what I do,” and we rightly mock its insincerity. Using the inside/out approach to change ourselves gives us credibility and genuine leadership traits because it is based on integrity and the power of a personal example. 

Dr. Covey also stated, “The inside-out approach says that private victories precede public victories, that making and keeping promises to ourselves precedes making and keeping promises to others.” Finally, Dr. Covey added, “Private victories precede public victories. You can’t invert that process any more than you can harvest a crop before you plant it.” 

This type of philosophy also helps foster meaningful partnerships with others “in and out” of business. Once your employees or co-workers understand why you act the way you do, they’ll be more willing to collaborate with you because they’re aware of your personal leadership style. They are comfortable with you and can trust you.

Becoming responsible for your own Personal Leadership will help you to develop a greater degree of self-awareness, cultivate the right mindset and develop above average leadership qualities. Personal leadership is about transforming yourself into a better version of you!  It is also about understanding your purpose and being able to translate that purpose into an inspiring vision that will also have a positive influence upon others.  

Nelson Mandela was one of the greatest leaders of the late 20th century. He understood the power of his own personal leadership.  After spending 27 years in an isolated prison… he said…, ‘until I changed myself I could not change others’.  

The first step in becoming a respected and recognized leader of other people… is to be able to demonstrate that you can lead and motivate your most important follower. You!

Personal Leadership is the ability to direct your own life and to guide yourself in the direction that you want your life to take. It is the ability to define who you are, what you want out of life, and how you are going to achieve your deepest aspirations. In part 2 of this video I will discuss some of the qualities or attributes of a person who embraces the Personal Leadership philosophy. If you have any comments or question feel free to express them in the comments section. 

This is Greg Thomas on behalf of Leadership Excellence Ltd. reminding you that it was Dr. Steven Covey who wrote, “Live out of your imagination, not your history.”

See you next time!

If you need help fine-tuning your personal leadership skills, we offer personal leadership development training in person (in the Cleveland area) or via video conference for your convenience. Check out our leadership development training programs here!

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