Self-leadership is about choosing who we are, what we do, and who we become. It doesn’t advocate for a selfish approach to get what we want at any costs. It also recognizes that things do not always come to us easily but that our environment is created through us making choices and creating opportunities and circumstances.
The world, with its reliance on technology and inter-dependent economies, has become a place that leverages knowledge, meaning the things we learn can become obsolete very quickly. What remains constant is that we have to manage ourselves effectively within these complexities and ongoing evolution in order to overcome obstacles, to renew and refresh ourselves, and to fully participate in our own lives.
Self-leadership is not about managing others, although self-leaders make great managers and leaders. The focus is not on leading others, but rather about leading yourself.
In a typical look at external leadership, your manager gives you directions, sets expectations, and tells you when something is due. If they are a consultative manager, they may ask you how you would like to get the work done, while still defining what the end result will be. A self-leader scans their own environment, recognizes what they could be doing, and does it.
Let’s say that a supervisor says to you that sales are down and you need to increase your results by 10% in the next quarter. A consultative supervisor would probably ask you how you could achieve those results. The self-leader sees that sales are down and devises a plan of action without the supervisor saying anything.
Self-leaders share several key characteristics, which we have organized in a model of four pillars.