What is personal leadership?

  1. Personal leadership is the self-confident ability to crystallize your thinking and establish an exact direction for your own life, to commit yourself to moving in that direction, and then to take determined action to acquire, accomplish, or become whatever you identify as the ultimate goal in your life.
  1. Personal leadership is the leadership of the self. It is the ability to define a direction for your leadership and life, and to move in that direction with consistency and clarity.
  1. Personal leadership is your commitment to take the lead in your own life. You take the opportunity to design, create, and achieve your ideal ways of living and leading.  In a positive, unselfish way, personal leadership means putting yourself first.  Literally speaking, personal means ‘about you’; leadership means ‘coming first.
  1. Personal leadership is the kindling within. When you fan the inner flame, you unleash what you’re capable of.
  1. Personal leadership is a form of transformational development. It is transformational in the sense that many leaders before now only knows about leading others and not self but with personal leadership, you will get to understand that leadership starts from self. Before you can lead others, you must be able to lead yourself.

When you practice personal leadership, you lead from the inside out.  The process involves asking yourself, ‘How do I need to be and act and think in order to be my best?’ — a kind of self-driven style well-suited to dedicated leaders like you who will carry business into the future.  In order to do that, you must periodically turn away from the concerns of the day — the people, the problems, and the pressure — to explore and discover your inner edge.

To practice personal leadership, you apply the principles of leadership that makes business a success … to yourself.  For example, leading in business involves having a compelling vision, developing strategies, and inspiring people to use their talents to meet a goal for improved business results.  Leading yourself means applying these same principles of leadership to your role as a leader and your life.  You, too, need a compelling vision and a strategy for reaching it.  You need a team supporting you.  You need results, as well as a sense of contribution and purpose.  The difference is that personal leadership doesn’t just make for better business, it makes for better leadership.  It makes for a better you.

Personal leadership is a smarter kind of personal growth and path of personal excellence.

As a leader, you must learn to lead yourself to stay effective.  When you practice personal leadership, you use every ounce of your potential with inspiration instead of perspiration, synergy instead of sacrifice, and wisdom instead of work.

What are the characteristics of personal leadership?

What makes personal leadership different from other forms of leadership?

Personal leadership is distinguished by its focus on the individual and an appreciation for who you are.

  1. Respectful: Personal leadership respects the extraordinary value of each human being.  It does not, as many models do, tell you to be like someone else although you can learn from people.

2. Reflective: Personal leadership means thinking about what you’re doing, in a spirit of wholeheartedness, openness, all-inclusiveness and responsibility.

3. Renewing: The most important tool for leading 21st century change is the leader’s self.’  Unlike a take-no-prisoner approach to leadership, personal leadership offers an element of renewal– a way for leaders to slow down and advance in a powerful yet sustainable way.  When you are overworked, overtaxed, and overtired, you burn out.  When you are rested, rewarded, and renewed, you excel.

4. Rewarding: No matter what you do for a living, your work can be rewarding.  Personal leadership offers you the chance to create true prosperity — the kind of happiness that comes not just from financial gain but also from the richness of life.

The Benefits of Personal Leadership for You

Why should you consider practicing personal leadership? Personal leadership gives you a host of ways to do more, faster, and better.

  1. You Are More Efficient and Productive: You learn to do things the way they come naturally so you can be productive without being so busy.  You learn to use your mind well.  You manage your focus instead of your time, and your energy instead of your effort.  The result?  You achieve more with less.  You experience quality work and quality time at once.
  1. You Feel Motivated and Inspired: Practicing personal leadership means you not only know what you do well, you know why you’re doing it in the first place.  Work isn’t just work anymore.  It’s your chance to contribute your talents to people and ideas in which you believe.
  1. You Experience a Life of Joy and Fulfillment: One important aspect of personal leadership is the ability to connect, not separate, the different parts of your life.  You can still be committed to your work, but your commitment supports your personal life.  You can still devote yourself to your personal interests, but your devotion is integrated with your work.  You don’t have to trade one for the other, and so you move from distress to de-stress.
  1. Reconnecting with your sense of self does more than enliven your work: It makes life more rewarding.  You see through the well-documented myth that money alone can buy happiness.  Don’t worry—you don’t have to give up the gains of success. You just get to experience the rewards of joy and fulfillment as well.
  1. You Get Your Life Back: When you learn to lead yourself, you find more free time, choice, and control.  Practice personal leadership, you learn that you can have it all without doing it all.  You learn to put first things first and to let things happen instead of making them happen.  Then at last you can achieve your ambitions while still saving something for yourself.

You Get Better Results.  It may seem that personal leadership has an awful lot to do with you.  Indeed it does.  But your success as a leader also produces better results for your business.  As you focus on your inner edge, you become more effective on your outer edge.  As you improve yourself, you improve your team, your organization, your company, and your results.

Finally, let’s talk about 2 major important attributes of personal leadership aside from the ones we have mentioned.

  1. Discipline

When it comes to discipline I’m always led to reflect something the Tentmaker said:

”In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win. To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes to all this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a silver cup, but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears.

So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around. Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside.”

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (Living Bible, The – TLB)

There is a discipline to go through, if you want to succeed as a leader either in business or professional career. It’s not just about being talented or gifted. You have to be disciplined, with yourself, and your habits.

The athlete knows that he must subject himself to a strict training and dietary regime, to be successful.

There is a discipline for the kind of life you want to lead:

  • You must be disciplined in how you spend and allocate your time.
  • You must be disciplined in how you spend and allocate your money.
  • You must be disciplined in how you prepare yourself every day. Don’t be careless or go into meetings unprepared.
  • You must be disciplined in how you present yourself to others, including those you work with every day.
  • You must be disciplined about where you go. Always knowing why you are going, what you hope to accomplish, and how long you should be there.
  • You must be serious, if you want others to take you seriously. And it all boils down to your personal discipline/leadership.
  • You must be disciplined in not only setting goals, and training for them, but also in how you evaluate your accomplishments with respect to those goals.
  • You must also choose your friends carefully; “If you walk with the wise, you will be wise.”

In relationships it is best to be either raising others, or being raised yourself through others. Horizontal relationships where you are simply looking for companionship, do not necessarily benefit you; keep them to an absolute minimum, and manage all your relationships with discipline and respect.

  1. Be a fast follower:

There is nothing wrong in trying to figure things out on your own and be a blockbuster success, however, there is another path to success, and this is called, the “fast follower”.

There are a lot of people who are successful, through the ability to see what others have done, and then moving quickly to do the same thing; this is the “fast follower”.

If you want to understand fast followership in detail, look at great companies like Microsoft or Apple, they are not necessarily the first to come up with a new idea. They are “fast followers”; if they see someone doing something, that has potential, they either buy it or build something similar; –only they do it better.

The Chinese are masters of the “fast follower” model:

When they see something in the West, like Yahoo, Facebook, Uber, Google, their entrepreneurs quickly follow, to build their own.

Personal leadership requires you been a fast follower. One of my mentor said, who you follow determines what follows you.

The Fast Follower, does not copy, they look at something very carefully, and then try to re-imagine it:

-“How can I make this better?”

– “how do I use this, in my own context?”

Steve Jobs, did not invent the cell phone, in coming up with the iPhone. He took something that had been there, for nearly 20 years, and completely re-imagined it, to come up with the iPhone.

In Fact, Steve Jobs was the “master” Fast Follower:

He did not invent anything new. He innovated around ideas that had been there all along. The same could be said, about much of what Bill Gates did.

Success requires you to be both a “FAST leader”, as well as a “FAST follower”. This is because sometimes you get the chance to be the one who pioneers something new, but more often than not you must also be ready to be a “fast follower”, if the situation calls for it.

The Benefits of Personal Leadership for Business

Personal leadership isn’t just a game changer for life.  It helps with business, too.

In a time when leaders are gasping for breath, personal leadership breathes in new life.  Businesses that honor the development and well-being of their leaders experience the following:  higher customer satisfaction, lower turnover, higher productivity, increased creativity, integrity, resilience, speed, quality, and innovation.

Thank you for your time.

Ebenezer Dare.

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