The hardest person for me to lead is ________________. Go ahead, think of a name to put in that blank. Before dwelling too much on this person, would you consider the following statement? Of all the people you will ever lead, the most important person and the most challenging person is the same person. It is yourself. I learned many years ago that leading other people is a piece of cake compared to leading myself. Let’s take a look at how Kathy Ferguson Litton defines self-leadership.
Self-Leadership – “The practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and behaviors to achieve your objectives.” – Reference Link
My greatest disappointments in life and ministry are not about other people letting me down, they are about me letting myself down.
“The smallest crowd you will ever lead is you – but it’s the most important one.” John Maxwell
Here are six steps leaders who lead themselves well take.
1. Self-Leaders are Followers First
“Civilization is always in danger when those who have never learned to obey are given the right to command.” Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
“Leaders fall when they stop following.” Dr. Joseph Stowell
2. Self-Leaders Never Stop Learning
“Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,” Proverbs 1:5 (ESV)
It is easy to look ahead to what you think the finished product of your life should be and think that this is God’s desire for us. However, I think that God’s desire is to take us through a process. It is in this process that we are molded and shaped into who God wants us to be.
3. Self-Leaders Grow in Self-Discipline
Do you waste time on meaningless things?
Do you say no to the things that keep you from doing what you know you should be doing?
We all have the same amount of time. It is mostly our choice how we use it.
4. Self-Leaders Accept Responsibility
“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 (ESV)
Leaders do not run from responsibility. They take it and they own it, in good and bad times.
5. Self-Leaders Seek Input, Counsel and Accountability
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14 (ESV)
“People who lead themselves well know a secret: they can’t trust themselves.” John Maxwell
When a leader is okay with other people knowing they don’t have it all together, instead of losing the respect of those they lead, they gain it.
6. Self-Leaders Submit to the Spirit of God in their Lives
“Spiritual leadership requires Spirit-filled people” Oswald Sanders
In 2 Chronicles 26 we read about King Uzziah, who began to reign in Judah at age 16. At first, he followed and obeyed the Lord. Unfortunately, he became strong and proud which led to him being unfaithful and disobedient to the Lord. His disobedience led to him being a leper until he died, losing his kingdom in the process.
When we commit to leading ourselves well, leading others will be a natural result. I would love to hear your thoughts on what you do to lead yourself well.