LEADERSHIP is a cultivated art that begins with self-leadership (Ng, 2017). Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability the influence your communication, emotions and behaviors on the way to getting there.
At the centre of leadership is the person who, more than anything else makes the difference. In short, self-leadership is a path toward more effectively leading others. In the collaborative, decentralized workplace environment, training people to become self-leaders who set priorities, take initiative, and solve problems is more important than ever. Fortunately, self-leaders can be developed. Lolly Daskal (2017) president of a global consultancy specialising in leadership and entrepreneurial development, encourages leaders to concentrate on the leadership within their own lives.
How to have constant energy
How we think we feel has a definite effect on how we actually feel physically. If your mind tells you that you are tired, the body mechanism, the nerves and the muscles accept the fact. If your mind is intensely interested, you can keep on at an activity indefinitely. In fact, self-leadership is a system of thought discipline. By supplying attitudes of self-discipline to the mind it can increase energy. It helps you to accomplish prodigious activity by suggesting that you have ample support and resources of power from within yourself. Every great personality I have ever known who has demonstrated the capacity for prodigious work has been a person in tune with the Infinite (some prefer to call this God). Every such person seems in harmony with nature or the universe. It is that alignment of the self with the universe that is the source of our energy to pursue and accomplish our goals in life. There are about 12 specific guidelines for leading from within which I cannot outline here owing to space constraints.
Understanding vitality and self-energy
I am convinced that neither age nor circumstance need deprive us of energy and vitality. Most literature, including the Bible, talks about vitality and force and life. Life is about vitality and sense of purpose to push us through the vagaries of life. This does not rule out pain or suffering or difficulty, but the clear implication is that if a person observes the creative and re-creative principles of a purposeful life he can live with power and energy.
Why self-leadership matters
There is a direct correlation between self-leadership and public leadership (Rima, 2000). Samuel Rima explains that the way in which a leader conducts his personal life has a profound impact on the leader’s ability to exercise effective public leadership. Specific areas enhanced by way of self-leadership include emotional intellect, self-awareness and relationship management, including intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. Self-leadership serves to enhance a leader’s emotional intellect by strengthening one’s awareness of self.
Pinnow (2011:131) highlights the importance of self-reflection as it crucially shapes leadership style and the organization: “There is no complete objectivity, no unbreakable reality, and no absolute truth, but always only an individual understanding of it”.
Once they understand the actual reasons, they are able to evaluate a situation or people more objectively without being cluttered by a predefined internal script (Pinnow, 2011). This will help leaders more fully align their behaviour with self-values and aspirations (Joiner and Joseph, 2007).
They then can manipulate flaws as learning opportunities for self-development (Ashridge, 2009; Rasli et al., 2014).
Self-leadership skills involve leaders’ abilities to reflect on self-strengths and self-weaknesses. Engaging in reflective thinking will influence leaders’ ability to learn about self and others.
Self-leadership also enhances a leader’s ability to manage intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. According to systemic leadership theory, relationship management involves managing both intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. The heart of effective leadership, according to Pinnow (2011), is the ability to effectively manage relationship of the self (the leader), the employees and the organisation. Self-leadership helps leaders become more self-aware, disciplined, and build stronger relationships. By training people to develop into self-leaders, organisations become more customer-driven, cost-effective, innovative, and effective.
Robert Mandeya is an executive leadership coach, trainer in human capital development and corporate education, a certified leadership and professional development practitioner and founder of the Institute of Leadership, Research and Development (LiRD). — firstname.lastname@example.org/www.lird.co.zw.