Self-Care and Self-Leadership

I was in a conversation recently with a group of managers and talking about how do we engage our team in a mission that we may not be bought into. The example that was used was what if they executive team just decided to double our quota for the year. How do we bring the team into that when we know it will be difficult?

And as talked through a number of scenarios including: Just telling the team to buckle down; and to be transparent, “this could be difficult but let’s put our heads together are there some ways we haven’t considered.” Then one leader in our conversation said, “You know it easier for me to show up in a way that fosters creativity and optimism when I am in a good place.”

As we probed on that, it seems he was speaking about when he is sleeping well, eating well, and taking good care of himself it is easier to take care of his people.  And yet as you look at the statistics, people are working longer hours, they are skipping lunch and they are truly not caring for themselves. According to a study by Gallup we are working 47 hours per week.

Then there is a new friend I have met who is teaching the educators about leadership in the classroom and how that really begins with self-leadership. She explained her model and how every consultant and trainer has to complete a rigorous self-improvement curriculum before they go into the field. Everyone has to be their best self and a self-leader before they can lead others into that place. I like the integrity in that statement. All too often I see trainers and leaders who will deliver a message that they have not actually lived.

Think about that for a moment. How can you lead others if you can’t lead yourself? Oh you might have authority. You may have the position. But when it gets down to it, how do you inspire people to follow your vision when you aren’t leading yourself.

Let me share an example. I once worked with a manager who was overweight and who complained about it. Yet after a grueling day on the road where did he want to go for dinner? The Del Frisco Steakhouse for a 16 oz. Steak, Fries, Salad and Bottle of wine.

Do you think he was on top of his game the next morning? Do you think he did anything to battle the bulge over the belt? He’s not committed to himself how can he commit to the larger initiative

A different example is the sales “leader” I worked with in Seattle that said, he didn’t sell. He was a manager.  He was in charge of a sales team. He had a budget/quota. And he was not going to sell. How inspired do you think his team was?

  • Are there areas where you have a vision for yourself that you are not leading yourself towards?
  • If you are leading a team are you leading from the front or the back?
  • Are you following your own lead?

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