As a professional person in a highly technical role, like most people, you probably think about leadership in terms of direction setting, bringing out the best in others and getting the best results. While all of these things are important, it is just as vital to master self leadership if you are going to succeed as a leader.
So what is self leadership anyway?
Essentially it is about influencing and motivating ourselves and developing personal leadership strategies to consistently deliver great results. Another way to look at it is utilising your personal strengths to achieve the results that you want.
Professionals who start to master the skill of self leadership, benefit in a whole range of ways.
Firstly they have greater insight into their own personal behaviours and how they are impacting or hindering the results that they achieve. Imagine for example you are an accountant trying to get your message across to non-financial managers about the consequences of continuing to spend in excess of their budget. You may find that your message is falling on deaf ears. The accountant whose self leadership skills are more developed will notice this and start to adopt different approaches to influence the non financial managers.
Secondly they will develop the personal commitment and drive to keep going even when the setbacks or obstacles seem insurmountable. It is all too easy to throw in the towel when the going gets tough. You might even know someone who fell into this.
Thirdly they don’t leave things to chance and put clear plans in place to achieve what they want. Within the plan they identify what they need to do and by when. Again borrowing from studying for your exams, chances are that a good proportion of those who make it to qualified status in their profession had a clear plan of action.
Fourthly, they take decisions and get into action rather than procrastinating or trying to figure it all out. They know that they will never have all of the information they need so they get on with what they have and refine later.
Fifthly they tend to be personally effective and get so much more done in the time that they have available because they use the time that they have wisely, focus on doing what they do best and get others to do what they do better.
So how as an aspiring successful accountant or other professional what can you start to take your self leadership to the next level?
Spend some time doing some honest personal reflection on what behaviours help or hinder the results that you get.
Actively seek some feedback from others on how your behaviours or actions impact on them.
Take a look at how you plan your day, week, month or even quarter. Can you honestly say that in most instances you invest your time as wisely as you could?
Think about those times when you thought that the odds were against you and despite this you still managed to get the result you wanted. These times (sometimes referred to as Peak Experiences) can act as your fuel when it seems like there is nothing in the tank.
At the end of the day self leadership is about you taking responsibility for utilising your unique talents effectively to deliver the results that you want to achieve. So what’s your first step to better self leadership?
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements helps professionals to become great leaders. Check out his free audio e-course here
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.