Lead Yourself Before You Lead Others
A lot has already been written and talked about leadership. So how is this post any different from others?
Instead of talking about how to lead others and be an effective leader, this post is all about leading yourself before you begin leading others.
Oftentimes, I feel a lot of emphasis is put on impacting the lives of others to be seen as a credible leader. What is not talked about is how crucial it is for a leader to feel and believe as a leader from inside. They say that fake it till you make it but I say that believe until you become one.
How to start your journey as a leader
Anyone can become a leader and make an impact. It just requires serious amounts of dedication and willingness to grow — each and every day. It starts with you and ends at you. Here are some ways to lead yourself so that you can lead others.
- Know your values and stick to them
To quote Harold S. Geneen, “Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.” The most authentic leaders are the ones with authentic values and ethics. So, for you to become an effective leader, find values that resonate with your ideology, personality, and beliefs.
People tend to get naturally drawn to someone who has a vision, purpose, and integrity. Someone who treats people with respect and is empathetic to their needs. Make sure you know the kind of a leader you would like to become. Personal leadership beliefs, core values, and implementation of those values help leaders to become great.
2. Move towards purpose
You can’t be a leader if you don’t have a definite purpose guiding you through the dark times. Purpose is like a light at the end of a tunnel; a hope that keeps us going.
One must spend time wondering the real purpose or motivation behind becoming a leader. Your purpose will act as a guiding force when things go south. As a leader, you can inspire, lead, and motivate employees to achieve greater goals. If you have a clear purpose, you can ensure that the team is aligned to a common purpose.
3. Keep improving yourself
The one thing common among great leaders is that they work damn hard to improve, grow, and evolve into their better versions. Whether you’ve just started working or been a veteran in your chosen industry, make it a point to go back home by learning something new.
There are many ways to learn new stuff. Read books and magazines to be aware of the latest trends, technologies, and tools.
Looking for a tool that helps you manage work faster and smarter? Try ProofHub
Enroll yourself in an online project management course or a certification in analytics, data science, or whatever that sparks your interest. Ask smart questions from seniors during meetings and be proactive.
4. Make mistakes but never make the same mistake twice
It’s essential to try new stuff and do things that challenge your comfort zone. While doing so, you might end up making mistakes. Everybody does. So there’s no need to be ashamed about them.
As John C. Maxwell, once said, “ All leaders make mistakes. They are a part of life. Successful leaders recognize their errors, learn from them, and correct their faults.”
The one thing that differentiates a leader from a great leader is that he never makes the same mistake twice. Always remember that the best successes often come on the heels of failure.
5. Lead by example
Nothing is more difficult than leading from the front. It is not only brave but a very leader thing to do. Maybe that’s why it is the hardest thing of them all. The only thing that can make you a leader is when you start acting like one.
If your senior isn’t around when something important needs to be done, be willing to step into his shoes and do the needful. Be the type of a leader you want to see on your management team. Sometimes, it means doing things that are not part of your job description.
Summing it up
Leadership is not a one-time gig. It takes a lot of work and practice, even if you’re born with natural leadership traits. As the late Stephen Covey eloquently stated, “Personal leadership is not a singular experience. It is, rather, the ongoing process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with those most important things.”
Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder and CEO of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. He’s one person always on a lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams, and organizations. You’ll find him saying, “Let’s go!” instead of “Go!” many times a day. That’s what makes him write about leadership in a way people are inspired to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.