Want to be a better leader? The first person you need to lead is yourself. Taking the time to look inward and really reflect on where you could make improvements isn’t easy. In fact, I wrote about a similar topic just last month when I spoke about our fear of feedback. You can read it, here.
For me, the crux of leading from the inside out is about learning to exercise a little self-discipline. It’s a bit like trying to live a healthier lifestyle. How many of you started a diet on 1 January? Or promised yourself that you’d be more active in 2019? If you made any self-improvement related New Year’s resolutions, have you been able to stick to them for the last three months? If you haven’t, it’s not the end of the world but the key is to be honest with yourself and try your best to do better tomorrow.
Leadership is much the same. If you don’t have the self-control required to be a good leader, and you aren’t following through on what you say you’re going to do, you’re in no position to inspire and motivate others. And you’re probably going to struggle to achieve your goals. Here are a few things consider if you’re looking to improve your resolve as a leader.
Keep an eye on your priorities: When people decide to join the gym or change their eating habits, it’s generally with a bigger goal in mind. If you want to improve your lifestyle you need to keep these priorities front and centre at all times. Doing so can help you to make the right decision when you’re tempted to stray down the wrong path. As leaders, it’s critical to exercise similar self-discipline and to always keep your focus on what is most important.
Challenge your own excuses: We all make mistakes. Everyone falls off the wagon. But the key as a leader is to take ownership of your errors. Making excuses for why you aren’t getting any healthier or slimmer isn’t going to improve your wellbeing. Be honest with yourself and learn from your shortfalls.
Remove rewards until you’ve reached your goal: This can be quite a tough thing to do but if you really want to achieve something it can be a good motivator to only reward yourself once you’ve finally reached your goal. By resisting the temptation of an immediate reward in preference of a later reward you’ll find yourself more motivated to work towards your goals.
Stay focused: Some days it can be tough to keep your eye on the prize. Maybe it’s getting fit enough running a 10km race or fitting into a certain outfit for a big occasion. Whenever you feel your willpower waning be sure to focus on what you’ve actually set out to accomplish. Good leaders are able to maintain their standards at all times because they have their sights firmly set on the bigger picture.
And when the day, week, month or year is done you need to ask yourself:
“Did I achieve my goal?”
Keen to access more content like this? I write about leadership regularly on the Nebula blog. You can read those posts here. Or to have these and other insights delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our monthly newsletter below.