As a leader, the first person you lead is yourself. Leading self means you are willing to understand your strengths and governing beliefs. Personal leadership is about bringing this core to the table and being able to use your talents and gifts to create value. Maybe you’re thinking “I am not a leader” because of your title at work. But in truth, leadership is about leading self, building relationships and leading with the heart, not just the head. Leaders possess qualities like empathy, compassion and courage.
My biggest “aha” moment about work titles and the traditional definition of a leader was at Royal Roads University. At the time, I was working for an organization going through a very rough patch; staff felt both hopeless and we all contributed to a negative workplace culture at the time; we didn’t know how to cope. My academic supervisor gave everyone a post-it-note with one question – a different question for each person based on the theme of their first assignment titled “Personal Leadership Challenge.”
My post-it-note had the following “What is the source of your power at work?” My first reaction was negative: “Ya right! Power? I have none of that in our current work situation.” After a few days of personal reflection and many enlightening conversations with my cohort, I realized that the power is within me. We all have the power to lead ourselves in a more positive manner, regardless of the workplace culture.
Leadership is about what you choose to do and involves a WHOLE LOT of self-reflection! Self-reflection activities can be overwhelming at times and mentally exhausting, however in the last few years the process has inspired me both personally and professionally and I have realized that leadership is cultivated.
Do you practice self-reflection? If yes, how?