It’s tough to be a credible and authentic leader when you aren’t aware of yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses. A quest to continuously improve self-leadership is an important though often overlooked skill. It’s developing mastery over yourself, and gaining insight into what makes you tick and why.

Developing self leadership can be particularly challenging because no one sees the effort you put into it. They also don’t see your internal struggles as you grapple between who you are and who you are becoming.

Here are some exercises that can be used to improve self leadership:

1. Taking critical ownership of actions

Reflecting on your actions and the impact they have had is vital to being able to know what works and what doesn’t.  What have you accomplished and how have you done so? How many bridges did you build and how many were burnt?  Are you comfortable with the outcome? In the future what would you change and how you improve your strategy?

2. Explore the duality

We live in a world of duality.  There are opposites and contrasting aspects of our lives. Most of us have conflicting thoughts. We know we should be doing something when we’re doing something else. We think one way is best and we feel that another course of action is the way to go. Our understanding of the situation is radically different from the facts presented by the media, the team or another source. Science tells you one thing, your spirituality or worldview tells you another. You hold certain values and you perform certain actions. Are your values and actions always aligned? In the tension between the two, take the time to explore what both perspectives mean and their consequences. What outcomes does each strategy support and what are your impressions of those outcomes?

3. Awareness of the push-pulls

There are social, economic, political and other forces influencing our decision-making and behaviours. Certain actions are pulling you towards a goal or behaviour while certain powers are pushing you away from a certain goal, direction or behaviour. Be aware of what is pulling you forward and if that pull is in your best interest. Be aware of what is pushing you away from something or someone and if that push is in your best interest. Being more attuned to these factors improves your ability to make good decisions and make the necessary changes in strategy.

Developing self leadership as a continuous process

Developing self leadership involves some practical steps which involve self-awareness, self-management, and self-motivation. Here are some steps a person can take to master self-leadership:

1. seek to understand through Self-Reflection

Begin by regularly reflecting on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Understand your strengths, weaknesses, and personal values. You can use journaling, meditation, or mindfulness practices to aid in this process. Self-reflection helps you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and increases self-awareness.

2. set goals and challenges

Set clear and realistic goals for yourself, both short-term and long-term. Break down your goals into smaller, actionable steps, and develop a plan to achieve them. This will help you maintain focus, stay motivated, and track your progress over time.

3. Manage Your Time

Prioritize tasks and allocate your time and resources effectively. Develop a daily routine and stick to it as much as possible. By managing your time well, you can ensure that you are working towards your goals consistently and efficiently.

4. Practice Emotional Intelligence

Develop your emotional intelligence by recognizing, understanding, and managing your emotions. Learn to cope with stress, communicate effectively, and build strong relationships with others. Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in self-leadership and personal development.

5. Undertake Continuous Learning

Invest in your personal and professional growth by seeking out opportunities for learning and development. Attend workshops, read books, listen to podcasts, or take online courses to expand your knowledge and skills. Embrace a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than setbacks.

6. Develop Self-Discipline

Cultivate self-discipline by developing healthy habits, maintaining routines, and resisting temptations that distract you from your goals. Stay committed to your personal development and hold yourself accountable for your actions and decisions.

7. Seek Feedback

Actively seek feedback from others to gain insights into your blind spots and areas for improvement. Be open to constructive criticism and use it to make adjustments in your personal and professional life.

8. Practice Self-Motivation

Develop intrinsic motivation by focusing on the internal rewards of personal growth and self-improvement. Connect your goals to your values and remind yourself of the benefits of self-leadership. Celebrate your achievements and maintain a positive attitude towards your progress.

By following these steps and committing to the ongoing process of self-improvement, individuals can improve self leadership skills which are necessary to navigate life’s challenges and achieve their personal and professional goals.

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Renée helps business get unstuck. Through business relationship mapping, conflict resolution and leadership development, Renée helps entrepreneurs and businesses understand their ecosystems, identify underutilised resources and opportunities to engage.

Renée works at both ends of the spectrum: from the fun stuff of building excellent teams to dealing with low morale. She helps managers take workplace bullies by the horns, address long standing conflicts, all of the frustrating stuff to harnessing the energy in a conflict to collaborate, innovate, and build better businesses.

Renée is a speaker, trainer, coach and consultant.