As a leader, you likely know how to lead your company or department. But how are you doing in terms of your personal leadership?
If you’re wondering what personal leadership is, here’s a definition. 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.
When you practice personal leadership, you “lead from the inside out. ” The process involves asking yourself, “How do I need to be, act and think in order to be my best?” 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 make businesses 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.
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. Personal leadership is so important, in fact, that renowned management expert Peter Drucker once called it “the only leadership that’s going to matter in the 21st century.” So now the key question is, “Are you succeeding in leading yourself?”
Take the following quiz to find out.
The Personal Leadership Quiz
Answer each of the following questions with a “yes,” “sometimes,” or “no” response.
1. I am clear on what I want and know how to get it – for the big things and the small. Yes Sometimes No
2. I practice a strategic, reflective approach to leadership. Yes Sometimes No
3. I know where to focus my attention on a daily basis. Yes Sometimes No
4. I am able to maintain peak performance at all times. Yes Sometimes No
5. I maintain my sense of stability and equilibrium in times of change. Yes Sometimes No
6. I have identified my talents, strengths, skills, and weaknesses. Yes Sometimes No
7. I know how to maximize and leverage my unique talents and abilities. Yes Sometimes No
8. I am delighted with my quality of life both on and off the job. Yes Sometimes No
9. I feel very little stress and overwhelm in my life. Yes Sometimes No
10. I make a meaningful contribution every day. Yes Sometimes No
11. I have plenty of time for people, activities and events that are most important to me. Yes Sometimes No
12. I take regular action toward my most important goals – not just what’s most pressing. Yes Sometimes No
13. I have a wide network of people who support me, and whom I support in return. Yes Sometimes No
14. I am constantly learning and improving myself. Yes Sometimes No
15. I intuitively recognize and take opportunities. Yes Sometimes No
16. I am often astounded by the way the opportunities I want and the solutions I need present themselves at just the right moment. Yes Sometimes No
17. I achieve a sense of renewal and restoration on a daily basis. Yes Sometimes No
18. I am proud of my ability to maintain my values and the essence of who I am, even when life gets hectic and/or as I get more and more responsibility. Yes Sometimes No
19. I have achieved “success” as I define it. Yes Sometimes No
20. I can say with confidence that every day I am at my very best. Yes Sometimes No
Tally Your Score
For each “yes” response, give yourself 2 points. For each “sometimes” response, give yourself 1 point. For each “no” response, give yourself 0 points.
What Your Score Means
• 0-13 points — If your score is low, you’re likely new at personal leadership. You’re so focused on the image you’re putting out to the world that you’re neglecting your personal leadership. Chances are you’re doing what you’ve always done. As a result, you’re not being very strategic about what you’re doing and why. It’s time to take a break from the action of business, go backstage, and do the inner work of who you are as a leader, what you want to contribute, and how you can find the ideal strategy for achieving what you want to achieve.
• 14-27 points — If you scored in the mid-range, you are spending some time on yourself, but you’re not being strategic in terms of getting the right balance for yourself. You may often feel that both business and life are “hit or miss.” You’re getting some benefits, but you’re not getting all the benefits you could. Therefore, look at where you’re excelling. These are your strengths. Find a way to refine those strengths even more so you can capitalize on them better. Then, look at where you rated yourself low. Those are your weaknesses. Find a way to develop those areas so you get more power.
• 28-40 points — If your score is high, congratulations! You are very often thoughtful and strategic on what you’re doing and why. You’re capitalizing on your talents, and as a result, you’re maximizing your business results. But don’t get comfortable and rest on your laurels. Continue developing your skills. Yes, you can strengthen your competitive edge and be even more strategic. Think about how you can build on what you have now to leapfrog the competition and break through to a new level of potential. Remember, the stronger you get in personal leadership, the stronger you get in your business Take Leadership Personally The bottom line is that as a leader, you must learn to lead yourself to stay effective. And just as the way you lead helps shape your life, the life you live will help you lead. So when you become a better leader, you also lead a better life. Ultimately, 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Joelle K. Jay, Ph.D., is president of the leadership development practice, Pillar Consulting. As an executive coach, author and speaker, Joelle helps leaders achieve top performance and business results. Her clients include presidents, vice presidents, and C-level executives in Fortune 500 companies. Joelle is the author of "The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership." To find out how Joelle can help you reach the next level both personally and professionally, email: [email protected] or visit: www.Pillar-consulting.com.