Leadership Starts Within, Then Focuses Outward

Leadership Starts Within, Then Focuses Outward

When many people think of leadership, they don’t think of it as existing on a continuum from leading oneself to leading others. They also don’t typically associate serving others with leadership. But the fact is that leadership involves both. Here are some thoughts as to why I believe this to be true.

Leadership Starts Within, Then Focuses Outward

Lead Yourself First – Can someone effectively lead others if they don’t do well at leading and managing themselves. In my opinion, no. Being able to lead yourself effectively comes before being able to lead others. As a leader of others, you must set an example. Understanding your behavior and its impact is important to being effective as a leader.

Be Yourself First – To become a leader you must become yourself. Often referred to as authenticity – you must be comfortable with who you are and not be afraid to show others who you really are. Otherwise, people will sense it, they will see through any pretense and you will ultimately lose credibility.

Adapt to Others – Have you ever met someone who seems comfortable in almost any situation or group of people. They seem to have an intuition that enables them to effortlessly adapt their style to the level of the person they are interacting with. Great leaders do this. They don’t force people to come to their level. Instead they bring themselves to the other person’s level.

Develop Others – Leaders serve others by developing them as leaders. They share skills, insight and power. They even let others have the opportunity to lead. The whole purpose being to develop new leaders. A good leader is one thing, but a great leader is one who develops more leaders.

Communicate to Others – Leaders serve others through communication. They make sure that information flows freely and to everyone. Holding back information in order to strengthen one’s own position has no place in effective leadership.

Be Available to Others – Leaders cannot be isolated. People need to feel that they can approach you and talk with you. You need to be available to them and sometimes you even need to seek them out.

Support Others – A leader needs to provide support to others, make sure resources are available and the structure in place so others can succeed. Leaders don’t succeed unless those that follow that leader succeed as well.

Encourage Others – A good leader knows when to take risks and how to calculate those risks. But your followers may not. They need to be encouraged to take risks, but this also means that they need to know that mistakes are okay.

A leader often has to start with self leadership, but when it comes to leading others, a leader’s focus is often focused on serving those that are following.

By John Hester

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