Our society today has a self-leadership crisis. It doesn’t matter where we look—business, politics, entertainment—we see its effects.
The news regularly reports about the financial improprieties of business executives. Politicians get caught all the time doing something they knew they should not do. And the grocery store tabloid headlines are always proclaiming how such and such movie star is cheating on so-and-so.
Despite how little self-leadership is practiced today, our society depends upon it. Here are three practical ways you can exert your self-leadership.
1. Submit to authority.
Submitting to authority is an important part of developing Self-Leadership. Submission means putting aside your own desires for the benefit of others. That’s why it is so hard. And that’s why it is so important—in the workplace and at home.
In order to become a good leader, you must first become a good follower. By submitting to a higher authority, you will prepare yourself for leading others. Why should anyone put you in leadership if you will not submit to others’ leadership? You cannot expect others to follow you if you do not follow your boss’s lead.
Be the employee you would want to work for you by willingly submitting to your boss. That will help your boss become the boss you would want to report to. You do not have to wait for your boss to become the boss you want. You can lead through submitting to your boss.
2. Be unoffendable.
We can all think of someone who rubs us the wrong way. But we should be willing to overlook those offenses.
According to Brant Hansen, we should be unoffendable. Hansen wrote the winsome yet provocative book, Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better.
Hansen makes these surprising points.
- We should choose to be unoffendable. That means letting go of righteous anger.
- Only God is entitled to righteous anger. We don’t know how to use anger properly.
- We should not be angry or bitter. Anger does not improve our judgment.
Instead of taking offense at others, Hansen says we should be willing to act out of an active love for others.
“Acting out of love, to show mercy, to correct injustices, to set things right … is beautiful. Love should be motivation enough to do the right thing. And not “love“ as a fuzzy abstraction, but love as a gutsy, willful decision to seek the best for others. What the world needs, I think you’ll agree, it’s not a group of people patting themselves on the back for being angry. We need people who actually act to set things right.”
But to live that way requires that we exercise Self-Leadership. We cannot just react to situations. We must be willing to lead ourselves with the proper motivations.
3. Take control—of yourself.
As you start the process of Self-Leadership, think through who you would like to be someday. Figure out the impact you want to have, so you can become the person you want to become.
The person that you are today is a compilation of the decisions that you have made up to this point. But you can change the person you will become by the decisions you make now.
As you think through what you want to do differently, it’s important to think about how you will change you. You can’t change your circumstances until you change yourself.
Through the process of Self-Leadership, you can become the person you were created to be. Maybe your past is telling you that you can’t do something. Maybe the people in your life are telling you that you won’t be more than you are now. Or maybe your current scenario is making you feel hopeless. Regardless of where you are now, you can change.
Once you realize that you are the only one who is capable of stopping you from changing, you can exert your Self-Leadership to make the change you want to see in your life.
Self-Leadership is an under-appreciated skill in our society today. While we think it may be more fun to cast all restrain to the wind, we do not respect those who do. Those who learn to master themselves today will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Robert McFarland is the author of the bestsellers, Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew and Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew. Robert is also President of Transformational Impact LLC, a leadership development consultancy helping companies be who they say they are by making their ideals actionable at the nexus of brand and culture.
I am an experienced coach. I can help you exert your Self-Leadership and move forward as a leader. Click the button to start the conversation.