The Secrets to Self-Leadership

I thought self-leadership was gobbledygook when I first heard the term.

You live in frustration when leadership begins with others. You think you need new people; your team is lousy, but leadership begins with you. Lead yourself if you hope to lead others. 

The problem in organizations is too many people have authority over others, but they can’t lead themselves. 

Self-leadership is expecting more from yourself than you demand from others. Image of an indoor track with hurdles.

Self-leadership explained:

Self-leadership is clear to leaders who take responsibility and confusing to blamers. If things aren’t going as you hoped, look at yourself. The answer begins with you, not others. 

  1. Enjoy your work if you hope others will enjoy their work. Unhappy leaders have unhappy teams. 
  1. Begin and end meetings on time if you expect promptness from others. (We know how important you are, but that is no excuse to make exceptions for yourself.) 
  1. Do what you say you’re going to do if you require follow-through from others. (Don’t make excuses for dropping the ball.) 
The danger of authority is the tendency to expect more from others than you expect from yourself. Image of a yellow wall.

Become a leader of one before you seek to lead many. The person who believes leadership begins with others ends up feeling superior. The problem isn’t them. It’s you.  

Self-leadership is expecting more from yourself than you expect from others. The result of self-leadership is humility. When leadership begins with others you become dissatisfied, disgruntled, and disappointed.


Self-knowledge is the beginning of leading yourself.

Reflect on your performance more than you examine the performance of others. (This isn’t about letting your inner critic run wild.) 

  1. What will you do differently next time? 
  1. When did your energy go up? Down? 
  1. How are people responding to your words? 
  1. Who talks more? You or others? 

You cannot master yourself unless you know yourself. 

The secrets to self-leadership are self-reflection that leads to self-knowledge.

How might leaders lead themselves first?

Still curious:

Leadership Identity – Self-Perception Determines How You Lead

The First Step Toward Self-Knowledge is Realizing You Don’t Have It

What Is Self-Leadership? Models, Theory and Examples