"the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your objective/s".
(Bryant and Kazan 2012).
"Self-leadership is the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your objective/s" (Bryant and Kazan 2012, Self Leadership - How to Become a More Effective, and Efficient Leader from the Inside Out).
Charles Manz was the first to use the term 'Self-leadership' in 1983 and defined it as; “a comprehensive self-influence perspective that concerns leading oneself". Peter Drucker (2010) said that being a Self-leader is to serve as chief, captain, or CEO of one's own life. Brian Tracy talks about setting a goal and taking full responsibility for that goal.
Self-leadership (a.k.a Personal Mastery) is the answer to how do we develop ourselves to survive and thrive in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous world.
Self-leadership is the Critical Success Factor for individual and organizational success.
The concept of Self-leadership can be found in the writings of philosophers and poets, both Eastern and Western:
"Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power." - Lao Tzu
"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." - Henley
Books on Self Leadership
Self Leadership - How to Become a More Successful, Efficient, and Effective Leader from the Inside Out by Andrew Bryant and Anna Kazan, Ph.D (McGraw Hill 2012) is a comprehensive text to understand, "What is Self-leadership?". it covers the theory and application of Self-leadership to individuals and teams. It is available on Amazon.
Self Leadership - 12 Powerful Mindsets & Methods to Win in Life & Business (2016) is a succinct guide to personal transformation and increased influence through Self-leadership. It is available on Amazon and a free soft-copy is available with Andrew Bryant's online coaching programs.
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What is Self Leadership?
All human beings are self-leaders; however, not all self-leaders are effective at self-leading (Manz, 1983). That is the bad news. The good news is that self-leaders can become better at leading themselves.
Self-leadership is about constantly developing the 'inner game' (mindset) and the ‘outer game’ (action). The inner game consists of Intention, Self-awareness, Self-confidence, and Self-efficacy (self-belief) to achieve Personal Mastery, whilst the outer game consists of influence and impact.
"Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behavior on the way to getting there." (Bryant, Kazan 2012).
In this current disruptive age, organizational learning has become the only sustainable advantage. Senge noted the link between self-leadership and organizational learning:
"Organizations learn only through individuals who learn. Individual learning does not guarantee organizational learning. But without it, no organizational learning occurs." - Peter Senge
Invest in yourself and transform your life with powerful mindsets and strategies to win in life and business.
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"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul."
How to Build Self-leadership
Intention (having a 'why') precedes any purposeful action (behavior). Actions have impact which the self-leader evaluates via feedback.
Intention is an inner narrative about why achieving an objective is important. Intention is the drive to be a better version of oneself and to make the world a better place as a result.
Whether leading yourself or leading others, it is essential, to begin with ‘Why’. Intentional action is like a laser, whilst unintentional action like hitting everything with a hammer.
Self-awareness is about knowing your intentions and values, as well as knowing your personality, what can ‘push your buttons’ and derail you. There are clear correlations between self-awareness and effective leadership, so developing self-awareness must be a constant habit. When coaching your team, transformation occurs, when you increase self-awareness about what drives behaviors, rather than just trying to modify behavior.
Self-confidence comes from knowing your capacity and strengths. As we take action and develop skills, we become more confident. Often people sabotage their confidence by self-judgement and ‘discounting’. Self-leadership is about being grounded and realistic about what you are good at, and what needs improving, this leads to true authenticity and humility (selfleadership blog: false humility will kill your career)
Self-efficacy is the belief that whatever comes our way, we can handle it. We can take the feedback, Accept, Adjust and Advance. With self-efficacy, we can be more creative and innovative.
When our inner game is good, our outer game becomes more efficient and effective through influence and impact.
Influence is the result of intentional action. Through self-awareness and self-confidence, we increase our capacity to Influence. Because we are grounded in ourselves, we can focus on others, and what is best for them. We can therefore positively influence ourselves and the world around us to facilitate change.
Impact is how intention and influence are measured in the world.
Andrew Bryant is the Pioneer of Self-Leadership & a Global Thought Leader on Creating Winning Cultures.
He has delivered keynotes on 5 continents in 20+ countries to 200,000+ executives on Self-Leadership, People and Culture for Sales Kick-offs, Product Launches, Team Alignment, Partner Meetings and Leadership Off-sites.