I was a guest on a podcast the other day and the host asked a simple yet profound question. Where do you start with your clients? The answer is always the same and that is to start with the leader of that organization or team. There is a universal truth that we all need to be aware of, “you must lead yourself first, in order to lead others”. If you cannot lead yourself then others won’t follow, respect or trust you. Here are three leadership principles to use to lead yourself first.
Invest in Yourself
What is your leadership development plan? I have asked this question thousands of times and very rarely does someone have an answer that has been thought out. There are so many personal development courses, books, podcasts, and mentors available to you and will fit any budget. If you want to increase your leadership ability, make sure that you are being intentional about it. Investing in yourself is the safest investment you will ever make and worth every penny.
Hold Yourself to a Higher Standard
My favorite coaches growing up were always the ones that were not only doing the work they asked of us, but were doing more. I had a basketball coach that would require us to run 2 miles every Monday and Wednesday. We did so begrudgingly at first but found it much easier once we knew he ran 5 miles before we arrived at practice those days. People may listen to someone that “armchair quarterbacks”, but they will follow someone that is doing more than the work they are asking of their team.
Work on What Matters
How often do you find yourself being busy all day yet not really accomplishing much? The endless task lists that tell you that you are working hard but what is the result? As a leader being clear on “what moves the needle” is far more important than just accomplishing busy work. Make time for yourself to reflect and prioritize to be more effective. You and your team will like the results and the freedom to work on more fulfilling projects or spend quality time with those you love.
People want to believe and be inspired by their leaders. The best way to do that is to continuously improve yourself. Often, I hear leaders say they don’t have time to work on themselves. That line of thinking is extremely selfish and potentially destructive. Your team deserves the very best version of you, so do yourself and your team a favor and put focused work on you. Let’s Go Win leaders!