Have you ever heard the expression “you can’t give away what you don’t have”? Well, when it comes to being an effective leader, this statement holds true; in order to be effective at leading others, you must first have a good handle on your own personal leadership.
It can be said that there are three levels of leadership. James Scouller pioneered this concept in his 2011 book, ‘The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Knowhow and Skill’. The first two levels are called public and private and they are concerned with the outer or behavioral type of leadership –interacting either 1-1 with people or leading a group of two or more people. And then we have the last type of leadership – personal leadership, which is intrinsic in nature and is the core of the other two types. Personal leadershipis defined as having three different aspects to it. Let’s look at these three aspects and how to develop them…
- Developing your technical knowhow and skill.
This is about taking a straightforward audit of all your skills, unique abilities, strengths and weaknesses. For example, you could identify that you have great presentation skills but your report-writing skills are not so hot and may need improving. If you are leading a team in a particular skill, such as negotiating commercial contracts or using a specific operations system to manage client accounts, then it may be necessary to up your skills and knowledge of that system or skills set.
It is important to identify your personal and unique strengths that you bring to the table, so that these can be maximized for the good of the whole organization or project and your weaker qualities can either be worked on or delegated. For example, you may be a great ‘big picture’ strategist but not so great at managing the details of things. Or you may be great at putting systems in place but not good at monitoring improving upon them.
- Cultivating the right attitude towards other people.
As a baseline, and it almost goes without saying, you need to cultivate a pleasant and respectable and respectful attitude towards other people. Be a role model in the way you deal with people, including when the pressure’s on and things get stressful. You cannot be a great leader if you have a tendency to get angry and lose your temper, no matter how skilled you are at the technicalities of your role.
You need to treat people as equal to yourself and have an attitude of interdependency in your team – you are all important parts of the system and work together to create synergy and the combined results.
- Working on psychological self-mastery.
This is about self-awareness and your sense of self-esteem and working to eliminate limiting beliefs that may be holding you back in your role as leader of others. For example, if you are reluctant to have conversations that confront bad situations or behaviours then this will inhibit your ability to lead others well.
You might identify that it’s necessary for you to attend an assertiveness training course, or a confidence-building seminar or read Ken Blanchard’s ‘One Minute Manager’, for example.
When you take the time to develop your own personal leadership skills, it’s like building your house on the rocks instead of the sand; it creates a solid foundation for your leadership of others to flourish and you’ll be able to make the transition from average leader to a truly great leader.
I have coached many leaders in personal leadership and if you’d like to find out how I can help you to develop yours then do please contact me, I’d be happy to have a chat with you.