Leadership at All Levels – "Leading Self"

Last week I shared with you an introduction to my thoughts on leadership at all levels.  Pete and I just finished a series with the Cross Point staff talking about these different levels of leadership:

Leading Up

Leading Down

Leading Peers

Leading Self

For the next four weeks I’ll share with you our notes from this series.  Today we’ll start with:

Leading Self

“There is a person with whom you spend more time than any other, a person who has more influence over you, and more ability to interfere with or to support your growth than anyone else. This ever-present companion is your own self. “  Dr. Pamela Butler, Clinical Psychologist

Self-leadership is been defined as “the process” of influencing oneself to establish the self-direction and self-motivation needed to perform.

Leadership begins with yourself.  If you can’t lead you, you can’t lead anyone else.

  • It’s the foundation for leadership
  • It’s not flashy
  • It doesn’t get much attention or affirmation
  • Self-leadership is the hard work behind the scenes that prepares you for greater leadership

Tough Truths:

  • From a human perspective, no one else cares more about your personal development than you do
  • You can’t wait for someone else to lead you
  • No one else owes you leadership
  • No one else is responsible for your leadership development

Core elements of developing self-leadership:


  • Who you are when no one is looking
  • Spiritual health
  • Emotional health
  • Expect more from yourself than others do
  • What qualities do you want to be true about your character?  Pursue the development of them


  • Set goals – personal, professional, family, fun
  • Take initiative
  • “Leaders are readers”; Read ferociously
  • Be a lifelong learner, and be a fanatic about it. Surround yourself with mentors and people smarter than you. Seek to be continually inspired by something, learning what your triggers are


  • Know your strengths & weaknesses
  • Seek counsel
  • Identify mentors
  • Always evaluate what you need to “own” (good or bad) in every situation

You create most of your opportunities by the choices you make in leading yourself.

How are you doing in the area of self-leadership.  What one thing could you start working on today to improve?

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  • Jonathan Pearson July 26, 2011  

    The character point is so essential. Without that part, we’re leading in the wrong direction. I think I need the most work with ‘self-awareness.’ When to share with others and get help working through things. 

  • Emily July 26, 2011  

    Tough truth that no one else is responsible for my leadership development…when I realized that it took me out of my paralysis and to a renewed energy to learn & grow on my own & through others.  Great thoughts & reminders!