Leading “You” Begins with Leading Me

| | Personal Leadership

“Lead yourself first.  Only then will you get to a place as a person where you can lead other people.” –Robin Sharma

This week I had the privilege of interviewing Robin Sharma, an internationally renowned author and leadership expert with Lolly Daskal for You Matter.  His latest book, The Leader Who Had No Title, is a guide to being  a leader in your work and your life regardless of what you do or whatever you story might be.

This book is packed full of wisdom delivered by some unusual yet very endearing characters.  Each of his characters teach us a dimension of both  the mindset and practices essential to leading with or without a title.  He makes the notion that anyone can lead seem not only possible, but accessible to every one of us.

Perhaps the most fundamental of all of his messages is this:  leadership begins with leading ourselves first.

In the chapter about ” To Be a Great Leader, First Become a Great Person”,  one of the characters says:  “Personal leadership — leading from the inside out, so that your bigness can be seen–is the DNA of all enduring excellence.”

While it is written as a business book the lessons apply in every domain of our lives.  How could they not?   For if we are truly leading ourselves who we are shows up no matter what we may be doing in any given moment.

We are in turbulent times.  If we are to not only survive, but transcend our current challenges and create a thriving world for future generations, it is going to take every single one of us to step up our game in some way.

As many of you already know, my personal mission is to make being a leader in life and work both compelling and accessible to EVERYONE.  My intention with this blog is to instigate everyday leadership through everyday actions.

One of the everyday actions we can take to fuel our leadership is to read books that feed our hearts and minds with ideas that can help us grow, provide the inspiration to be the best we can be, and the courage to be and act as a leader in our everyday lives.  I highly recommend Robin’s book to all of you.

Leading others begins with leading ourselves.  We are never done becoming the leader we could be.  Personally I am using this book as a guide to reflecting on how well I am leading me, seeking to identify areas where I can step up to a new level of excellence.  I will be sharing insights with you along the way.

If you read the book I encourage you to share what you learn and discover for yourself, as well as what moved and motivated you from what you read.  By  sharing we not only embed the lessons into our own minds and hearts, but also support and inspire others to expand their own capacity to lead.  Our work as leaders will be done only when every single person we touch is inspired to lead at the very least themselves.

If you want to listen to the You Matter interview Click Here.

What wisdom do you have to share with others about leading yourself?

Please make a difference in this community by sharing your thoughts here.  There is much we can all learn from each other.


Enter A Comment

Gwyn Teatro   |   23 April 2010   |   Reply

Hmmm, once again you have managed to pose a question that “my little grey cells” (as Inspector Poirot might say) are eager to chew on.
I’m thinking that the function of leadership (self or otherwise) includes both leading and managing.

So what is the leadership part? Well, the leadership part is about looking toward the future at the person I want to be in about two decades, (besides an old woman, that is). I think about what I would like people to say about me or feel for me and how I might have earned those thoughts and feelings. Then, I try to use that future woman as a guide.

And that brings me to the managing part. The managing part is a bit trickier because it gets away from thoughts and toward behaviour. Self management (and leadership) for me, involves being aware of, and relying on what I know about myself and what I think it will take to bring that future woman into being. This involves the choices I make; how I manage my emotions; the relationships I build; the conversations I have; and daily, being guided by the basic values that define me.

That’s the goal anyway. But, realistically, I know, (just like every other reasonable leader knows), that I will sometimes fail. I will let myself down. I may let others down from time to time. At times, I may not feel strong enough or brave enough. After all, my future woman is not looking for Sainthood or any kind of Martyrdom.

Loved the blog post Susan! Thank you for yet another opportunity to think and grow.

Dorothy Dalton   |   25 April 2010   |   Reply

Great points Susan – as with most things the starting point is “self”. When that has been finely tuned, when we know who we are , what are goals and values are and how they govern our behaviour and expectations, extending those principles to other parts of our lives and activities will flow naturally and successfully.

Dr. Ada   |   26 April 2010   |   Reply

Great article that elicits thoughts. I like the idea of leading from the inside out. If a leader stops being a life-long learner and growing in his self-awareness and development, he/she will soon find it more difficult to lead others. Thanks for sharing the book and your thoughts about it.

Dave Carpenter   |   05 July 2012   |   Reply

Such an important, and so often overlooked, point. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of leading by example.

In this age where everyone of us has publishing power, I see so many extolling how we should lead, while at the same time exhibiting behaviors that they would find offensive if those they were leading did the same.

Early in my career, I was into leading others. After six Outward Bound experiences and multiple degrees from the School of Hard Knocks, my primary focus today is to live this mantra: Wannabe’s talk. Stars walk their talk. And, Super Stars let their walk be their talk.”

Thanks for your reminder and for showcasing the work of Robin Sharma, whose wisdom I soooo respect.

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