Healthy leaders have learned the art of self-management knowing who they are, how they act and react, and the model they set directly impacts those who work under their leadership. Let me suggest that there are eleven critical self-management principles that all leaders should pay attention to.
Leaders do not have the luxury of being careless with their attitudes - toward people, situations, or life. One of the jobs of a leader is to inspire others toward healthy action, encourage the staff and be able to maintain a positive outlook on life, even when life is not cooperating. Their attitudes impact everyone around them.
All of us have emotions. Leaders learn to manage their emotions so that their emotions do not cause them trouble. Think of how angry eruptions and words spoken in the heat of emotion cause harm to people. Leaders who cannot control their emotions cause uncertainty for the staff they lead. It has been the downfall of many otherwise bright leaders.
Without empathy, leaders are not seen as caring individuals but as cold and lacking concern. Some people have a lot of natural empathy. When that is not the case, leaders must cultivate the practice of empathy. Empathy is a key in healthy relationships and relationships are a key to leadership.
Our Self Awareness
Self-awareness is the ability to discern how we are perceived by others and how our actions, attitudes, and words impact others. Lack of self-awareness causes great misunderstanding and assumptions by others that we don't care. When a leader is not naturally self-aware they need coaching and feedback from others if they are going to lead successfully.
Focused leaders developed focused staff while the opposite is also true. Good leaders choose to hold themselves to a high standard of discipline in their work including eliminating those things they should not do and focusing on the most strategic.
It is easy to control. It is harder to properly empower but that is the key to a healthy team and healthy leaders are rigorous in empowering others within boundaries to accomplish their work.
Boundaries are the things we do not allow in our behavior and in the behavior of others because it is hurtful to the culture we want to create. In effect, leaders set the boundaries for what is out of bounds within the organization or team.
We lead most powerfully be example. When our stated commitments and example are not in alignment the result is cynicism. When they are in alignment, staff know that we are serious. Examples speak louder than words.
Everyone thinks they are humble but that is the insidious nature of pride. Humility comes when we know our strengths, are acutely and equally aware of our shadow side and our need for others. Humility is cultivated through time with God and a great deal of introspection.
Few things speak louder than our commitment to serve those we lead and help them be all they can be. For leaders, life is not about us but about others and the mission that binds us together. The more we serve, the better leaders we become.
Each of these ten areas of a leader's life must be practiced with intentionality for successful, healthy leadership.