How are you leading the difficult people in your life? Who comes to mind when you ask yourself that question? You may be surprised that the difficult person I was actually referring to is you. The person staring back at you in your mirror is truly the most challenging person to lead. The first step to leading others is to lead yourself well.
Self-leadership isn’t optional.
Leading ourselves well is self-leadership. Some people refer to it as personal development, self-improvement or personal growth. Whatever we call it, the main point is to always be learning, growing and developing so that our leadership in ministry and in life has the greatest possible impact.
It’s so much more than reading.
Although books are a great way to grow and learn, there are so many more habits to consider as we strive to lead ourselves well. They include listening to podcasts, journaling, having a mentor, asking for feedback, attending conferences, meeting with yourself, developing your strengths, managing your time, creating margin, asking great questions and so much more. No one can do all of these perfectly, but most of us should look carefully at our current leadership habits and pick several to consider adding to our routine.
It involves every single area of life.
Good self-leadership is leading yourself well in all the major areas of your life: spiritual, emotional, physical health, finances, marriage, parenting, social, etc. Every area has a domino effect on the rest, so it’s imperative that we give attention to them all. We must be active and intentional in our growth across all areas. As we care for and pay attention to our whole self, we are also modeling healthy self-leadership for those on our teams.
Coasting does not work.
We can’t fly on auto-pilot as we try to lead ourselves more effectively. Self-leadership is very active and intentional. Becoming complacent in this area is a dangerous place for leaders. We may think we are only coasting for awhile, but we are actually sliding backwards in our leadership. We develop blind spots that others clearly see. We slip in our communication and overall effectiveness. We all know a leader who has stopped growing and, therefore, stopped leading well. Determine to be serious about self-leadership so that you don’t fall into that category.
You are the most difficult and important person to lead.
I am convinced that the most difficult but most important person you will ever lead is yourself. You will be able to lead others well if you actively, consistently and intentionally find ways to continue your personal growth and development. What is one practical next step for you in that area?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Are you interested in developing your leadership resources and skills? Join breakout leader, Joy Canupp, as she provides a leadership track at this year’s TELL conference on March 21 at Pritchard Memorial Church in Charlotte.
Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.