Some people would have you believe that self-leadership is an art, something to be mastered and even strived for.
There is no such thing as self-leadership. There is self-development and personal growth but self-leadership doesn’t exist.
Self-leadership isn’t a word you can find in the dictionary because it’s a made up word. Whether it’s someone’s attempt to carve out an unique marketing niche for themselves as a self-help guru or it’s just someone’s attempt at trying to describe something that would be best described somehow else it’s inaccurate.
There are tons of articles, blogs and books that talk about self-leadership. I truly believe they are missing the point. I do believe that self-discovery is important. As is taking time to set goals, think about your values, understand what you believe, get your finances in order, discover and strengthen your weaknesses, ponder personal responsibility and a myriad of other beneficial personal growth and development practices. I just don’t believe they should be mistakenly called self-leadership.
The reason this distinction is so important is because the minute you stop thinking about the people you lead you stop being a leader. When people are taught that self-leadership is real then they really lose the understanding that true leadership is always about the people you lead and we weaken our leaders.
Self-development is the process of personally getting better, and that is always a good thing. However, when you take your better self and help someone else get better, achieve their dreams or produce at a higher level you are then being a leader. Leadership is never about you. It is always about the people you lead. And, you can’t be a leader unless you have followers.
Leadership is about discovering the potential in people and helping them get there. Leadership is about bringing people of diverse backgrounds together and teaching them that their collective power and ability is far greater then the sum of their parts. Leadership is about creating a vision so big, and modeling the beliefs and values that will allow you to achieve that vision that people are moved to step forward with you.
Leadership is never about self.
I believe the term “self-leadership” exists largely because people don’t understand what leadership really is. If we don’t understand what leadership is then how do we become great leaders, exhibit effective leadership characteristics and, maybe most importantly, develop future great leaders?
Please hear me when I say that I do believe personal growth is vital to everyone. I just do not want people confusing that with leadership which is about other people.
When you think of being a more effective leader do you think about yourself and what you want or need or do you instead think about the people you lead and what is best for them? Everything rises and falls on leadership. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking about self and missing the opportunity of maximizing your power as a leader and developing the people around you to be their very best.