What is self leadership and why is it important? Self leadership is the ability to influence your thoughts and behavior towards achieving an objective. Self-leadership is so important that the success of any set goal hinges on the effectiveness of the one that wears the crown.

Again, it is often said that the greatest hallmark and most effective kind of leadership is leadership by example; and leadership by example becomes fluid when you are an expert at leading your own self.

There has been increased advocacy for women to hold top management positions in both public and private sector. Also, women are increasingly being encouraged to run for political office positions.

As the advocacy to increase the number of women in leadership positions intensifies, young women will need to build the capacity to become effective leaders. Self-leadership is the first step in the right direction. It is therefore pertinent to improve our self-leadership skills with these 3 ways;

Cultivate the Growth Mindset for Effective Self-Leadership

Prominent leaders have always emphasized that everyone is talented and gifted. An Albert Einstein quote puts it this way: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree; it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid”.

Everyone has something to offer and in this case of adopting a growth mindset, something you can learn from them.

I remember back in high school days when my friends and I will cram the topic for each subject that we have for the week. This was so we can answer questions show off as efikos. This way of life abided with me well into my adult life. This was until I learnt the hard way that no one is a repository of knowledge.

Many accomplished women have talked about how they learn from their subordinates or mentees as the case may be, and that has humbled me a lot in my own journey.

Sometimes, we come across leaders who feel that those they are leading are dumb while they are smart and will parade that smartness to make their subordinates feel even dumber. Such kind of leadership is never effective and should not be encouraged.

My husband reminds me often that leadership is only a privilege and not an avenue for one to impose their sense of superiority over those whom they lead. As a women’s leader at my local church and head of several community projects, I try to rehearse those words as often as I can to keep pride and arrogance at an arm’s length.

“Maintaining a growth mindset helps us value the wisdom of others, humbly recognize our inadequacies, and relentlessly remain committed to learning and growing”, says Jenni Carton; a renowned Leadership Coach.

When you are open to learning, your blind spots won’t limit you and will have a combination of perspectives that enriches yours.

Understand Your Unique Strengths

This is a strategy put forward by Ken Blanchard and better expressed as “your points of power”. “Everyone uses different types of power in their lives and work. To be an effective leader, you need to know the nature of your unique strength. If you are good at communicating and motivating people, you have personal power. When people like being around you and associating with you, you have relationship power. If you have specific expertise or skills in a particular area, you have knowledge power”.

Ibukun Awosika is the first female chairperson of the First Bank of Nigeria. And also one of the most celebrated women leaders of this decade. In a conference, she advised young women to delegate in places where they do not have the competency to perform.

A leader may be surrounded with brilliant talents; but may not be effective if she wants to do the job all by herself.

Always withhold yourself from biting more than you can chew. Understand your unique strengths and play to them always.

Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

Dr John Ng, the Chief Passionary officer of Meta Consulting describes self-leadership as having four aspects. They are self-awareness, self-management, others’ awareness (the ability to acknowledge the abilities of others) and managing others.

In his explanation of the interaction of the four aspects of self-leadership, he writes; “some leaders are conscious of themselves, their personalities, idiosyncrasies, motivations, and competencies; but they cannot manage themselves, especially their emotions and weakness. They lack self-control, lose their cool, become unusually critical, behave inappropriately, want to do everything, and cannot keep their pride in check”.

I recall a press conference that came to an abrupt end because a prominent leader lost his cool when he was asked a sensitive question.

Developing emotional intelligence skills can help leaders and aspiring leaders alike manage their emotions in situations that may want to ruffle them.

In conclusion, you may one day find yourself in the corridors of power. It is better to cultivate competencies that will enable you to be a better leader. Self-leadership is one of those.  

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