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Lead Yourself Well

The ability to lead yourself is a critical and foundational skill to develop in today’s highly competitive work environment. Author David Taylor Klaus explains, “First be a leader of yourself. Only then can you grow to lead others.” Leaders that continually look to learn, grow, and develop are immensely more successful in leading highly effective teams and businesses. While most leaders understand this concept in theory, the application of leading yourself can be hard to fit into the daily hustle and bustle. This article will review some tips for “fitting in” leadership of yourself into your busy day-to-day life.

Leaders are Readers
Warren Buffet is widely known to spend up to 80% of his day reading. Buffet describes his fervent reading habit as an opportunity to build knowledge, think, and prevent impulsive decision making. While not everyone can devote this amount of time to reading, it is important for leaders to develop daily reading habits. Even if you can only allocate a short period of time, 5-10 minutes daily, reading is a critical investment in your growth and development as a leader. Reading professional journals and articles keeps leaders engaged in the newest industry trends. Spending time reading about leadership helps leaders sharpen their skills to better lead those around them. And reading novels and stories can help leaders develop empathy and communication skills at a higher level. It is clear that reading is an important habit for leaders to infuse into their life. President Harry Truman put it very simply, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. The more that you read, the more things you will know.”

360 Degree Evaluation
Feedback is a gift and a free form of education for leaders. Great leaders seek feedback, listen, and learn from the insights of others. However, according to the Harvard Business Review, “the feedback many leaders receive is not helpful. It’s often infrequent, vague, or unrelated to specific behaviors — and as a result, leaders tend to be less proactive about getting more of it.” With this in mind, it is not only important to seek feedback, but it is important to be intentional about who you are asking for feedback and your system for managing the feedback given. A 360 Degree approach to feedback ensures that you will receive feedback from those that lead you, your peers, and the individuals that you lead as well. Each of these stakeholders should have a vested interest in your leadership, but also will provide you with a unique perspective. A 360 Degree Leadership Assessment will provide you with invaluable feedback and will be another huge investment in your development as a leader.

Cultivate Your Personal Board of Advisors
According to a recent Forbes article, “being intentional about choosing the people you surround yourself with is essential. When you need great advice, having your go-to partners lined up can reap great benefits.” This article and many others like it, speak to the importance of developing your Personal Board of Advisors. Cultivating your own board of advisors is another great strategy to lead yourself well and will allow you to create long lasting relationships with people that you can continually count on for unbiased advice and guidance. While this group should operate with less formality than your typical board, it is important to put thought and time into selecting the right members for your board. Your board should be composed of individuals that are invested in your success, bring unique perspectives and for whom you hold great respect. Developing your own board is one of key benefits of being a Highrise member. Your core group as well as other leaders from throughout Highrise have the potential to be key members of your personal board. As a leader it is important that you cultivate a core group that you can seek out in all seasons of your professional journey.

Leading yourself well is key to ensure your health and success as a leader. You cannot begin to lead others if you are not taking time to invest and develop yourself. Let this serve as your reminder to make time and create space to first lead yourself well.

Kim Derry

Kim Derry


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