Personal leadership is the ability to develop and utilize your positive leadership traits to guide the direction of your life instead of letting time and chance determine your course. Personal leadership can begin when you decide to be your own life coach and live by a personal mission statement that reflects your values and life goals.
Why Does Personal Leadership Matter?
While personal leadership develops from the inside out, its effects are felt not only by you and your family, but also by others in your community and workplace. For example, Abraham Lincoln began his political career using his incredible communication skills, including his wit and intelligence, to criticize his political opponents…so much so that he even reduced one politician to tears during a debate. While effective, Lincoln became uncomfortable with the tone of his campaigning. Over time, he learned to use his personal leadership skills, including self-discipline, to channel his language mastery for the good of the American people. This enabled him to be an effective leader (to say the least) and one of the best communicators America has ever seen.
Must-Have Personal Leadership Qualities
Here are some personal leadership qualities we can cultivate within ourselves to use our positive strengths and talents for our success and the benefit of those we live and work with:
- Vision—Having an overall game plan, or mission statement, including a clear vision of your goals and the leadership qualities you wish to possess, is essential to good personal leadership.
- Self-discipline—As in the case of Abraham Lincoln, a raw skill or talent that is channeled for positive use can greatly improve your life and your leadership abilities. Having the self-discipline to use your strengths only for good will enhance your personal growth and strengthen your ability to lead others positively.
- Spirituality—Peter Block, a respected leadership expert and author, points out, “Spirituality is the process of living out a set of deeply held personal values, of honoring forces or a presence greater than ourselves. It expresses our desire to find meaning in, and to treat as an offering what we do.” While we may not completely understand it, that spiritual component drives us to live life for more than just our own personal fulfillment.
- Integrity—Having firm and unwavering principles is the hallmark of a good and trusted leader (and friend). With integrity, you earn the respect and trust of those around you.
- Honesty—Being truthful isn’t always easy, but it is always the correct path. This is a cornerstone of personal leadership.
- Open communication—The ability to communicate with others in an open, honest, tactful way is a skill that must be continually honed. Much like Abraham Lincoln, the power of a good communicator in a leadership position cannot be understated.
- Kindness—Albert Schweitzer, physician and Nobel Peace Prize winner, succinctly stated that, “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
- Legacy building—To quote Charles Spurgeon, “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”
Developing personal leadership is an ongoing process which requires regular reflection and self-evaluation. But with conviction and perseverance, you can develop the qualities of an effective personal leader to determine your life course and the positive effect you can have on those around you.
What type of leader are you? Do you need help developing the habits and qualities needed to be your personal best? We can help. Leadership Excellence offers personal leadership development, personal and business coaching, and organizational leadership development to help you develop the qualities essential to good personal and professional leadership roles. Contact us today to find out how we can tailor a program to fit your needs.
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