How Do You Improve Your Self-Leadership?

You don’t lead yourself by yourself.


In this backstage interview from Leadercast Live 2018, leadership communicator and author Andy Stanley discusses what great leaders do to be extraordinary in their self-leadership. 

“Learning to lead ourselves and creating the skills, and the habits of leading ourself, it's an essential,” says Andy. “Folks who are extraordinary at leading themselves, they're extraordinary at stopping [and] creating space.”

Watch the video for ways to improve your self-leadership, particularly through coaching and self-reflection.

- Recognize the source of your frustrations.
- Seek professional coaching or counseling.
- Invite feedback at every level of success.

Self-leadership is extraordinarily important because in every facet of life, obviously, we show up with ourselves. I've been a part of every bad decision I've ever made. Everybody listening and watching has been a part of every bad decision we've ever made. Our greatest regrets stem, it goes back to ourselves. Learning to lead ourselves and creating the skills, and the habits of leading ourself, it's an essential. I think where we see the gaps in self-leadership are relational gaps. It's not necessarily performance. Relational breakdowns often stem from how we view ourselves, self-esteem, fear, a lack of internal confidence, all those things. All those things are tied to how well we lead ourselves.

Great self-leadership, it's essential to stop and ask the question, "OK, I'm upset, but what am I really upset about? I'm frustrated. What am I really frustrated about? I just want to go in there, and give them a piece of my mind, and unload, but what's behind that?” Folks who are extraordinary at leading themselves, they're extraordinary at stopping, creating space and asking the difficult question of, “Why is this happening? Really, why am I saying this? Why am I responding this way, really?” That takes, I think, some maturity. I think it's a skill that can be developed, and that simple question is a big part of it.

One of the best things a leader can do in this regard is to get a professional coach or to engage with a counselor. My assumption is everybody needs counseling at some point, and we probably need counseling before we recognize that we need counseling. We all need a coach. Unfortunately, sometimes in the business world, we relegate coaching to sports, or something else. You think about professional sports. You never expect a coach to be able to perform like the person on the field or on the court, but for some reason when we get off the sports field we think, "I can't allow someone to coach me who hasn't accomplished as much as me, who hasn't had the same opportunities, who hasn't led an organization as large as I have." That's completely false.

The men and women I know that have excelled and do extraordinary things when you dig behind the surface, and you ask probing, leading questions, you discover they're not doing this by themselves. They readily admit, "I am better because of the people around me." But the challenge is the more successful you become, the less likely it is that people are going to speak into your life unless you invite them in. As you become more and more successful, it becomes more and more important for us to be intentional about inviting feedback, inviting criticism. Sometimes, that just comes down to engaging professionally with a coach who has open access to our lives, to our decisions, both personal and professional. You always get better with a coach. You don't lead yourself by yourself is the bottom line.

Andy Stanley

Leadership communicator, best-selling author and founding pastor of North Point Ministries Andy Stanley inspires tens of thousands of people. Andy founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995, leading six churches in the Atlan...

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