When we think of leadership, we often think about leading others. But it is important to remember that before you can do that effectively, you have to be able to lead yourself. That will look different for everyone, but the principle remains the same—do you practice what you preach? Do you walk the walk? Here are a few ways you can do a self-leadership audit:
Know What You Are Working Towards
Often we expect our employees, team members, or business partners to speak to what they are accountable for in their role. What are they working towards? What impact does their role have on the organization? And while that expectation is justified, are you also able to speak to what impact your own role plays? Sometimes it is easy to get lost in managing others and being more concerned with what they are, or are not doing, that we forget to focus on our own efforts and what we can do to move the needle. If you are not meeting deadlines, hitting your sales quota, or going above and beyond, how can you expect others to do so? Leadership is about setting the example, and your team and colleagues are definitely watching.
Practice Time Management
Another area to be mindful of is time management. If we are not managing our time wisely, chances are we are not very productive or successful in every area of our life. What does not get done at work bleeds into our home life and vice versa. Think about it—even if you physically cannot take your chores into the office or take work home with you, chances are they occupying space in your thoughts. That can then keep you from being present in the moment, affecting time management. Organization looks different for everyone, but having a system is the key. Find a system that serves you, your environment, and your role well, and work it until it becomes second nature. Once you get into a groove with managing your time, you will not only be a better example for others, but you will be able to teach them how to manage their time wisely. When an entire team is productive, results happen. That is leadership.
Be Your Own Cheerleader
Leadership can be difficult! Sometimes we are more likely to receive constructive criticism versus praise. Which is not necessarily a bad thing—that is how we grow. But through it, you have to keep yourself motivated if you want to keep that spark alive for others. Remind yourself often why you are passionate about your role and why you do what you do. If you can maintain a positive headspace, it will naturally influence those around you. It is hard to keep others on track and excited about the mission at hand when you yourself have not bought into it.
Be the kind of leader you would want to follow. It is not an easy task, but it is always rewarding in the end.
“If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be.” –Dale Carnegie