When I assumed my first command, I was excited and afraid. It was exciting to be the first female appointed to the position.
However, it was concerning because the previous commander was successful and the unit had a strong reputation. I knew everyone would be watching me and I was determined to prove myself to be an effective leader.
The question I wrestled with was how? In speaking with my fellow company commanders, they explained my job was to oversee the administrative function of the company. Therefore, I wasn’t expected to be at physical training every morning, to march with the troops or to eat with soldiers. To be successful, I just needed to make sure everything ran smoothly.
My staff respected my position however I knew positional leadership was not effective. They expected me to be a “traditional leader”, however I decided to try a different approach.
You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”
– Ken Kesey
To become the leader I wanted to be I needed to lead myself first. I had to improve my knowledge level. I became very intentional about how I managed my calendar. I knew the secret of my success as a leader would be determined by how I spent my day.
I arranged my schedule to be at physical training at least three times each week. Instead of spending time in my office, I would accompany my soldiers to training. While my soldiers were training, I would train. I would work alongside my drill sergeants.
Over time, I noticed a change in how my soldiers treated me. Instead of following because they had to, they chose to follow me because they wanted. According to Maxwell I began to move my leadership level up from positional to permission to production to people development.
As a leadership coach, I spend a tremendous amount of time coaching aspiring leaders. Their focus is always on how to inspire others and achieve high levels of success. They are surprised when I shift the conversation to how they lead themselves.
So how do we lead ourselves well? Start by examining yourself. What are your blind spots?
Give some thought to these three keys to leading yourself intentionally:
- Truth: Are you grounded in the truth?
- Training: Where do you need to grow as a leader?
- Perseverance: What do you need to overcome?
So why is it so hard to lead yourself? Because we all have blind spots…
We see ourselves based on our intentions and we see others based on their actions. Therefore, we have a false impression of ourselves. As a leader, your actions affect everyone in the organization.
Which key is most important for you to start leading yourself intentionally?
PS – If you want to learn more about the keys to leading yourself intentionally, scroll down and get my “Aspiring Leader’s Lead-Me Guide”, its free!
Kim D. Moore
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