You are the most difficult person you will ever lead! If you think leading other people is hard, just look in the mirror. You and I are officially our own biggest projects.
I work in a very large church that works hard to lead thousand of volunteers every single week. I have seen how difficult it can be to cast vision to other and make it sticks. I have experienced how divisive people can stir up all kinds of trouble. I have witnessed attempted communication to a mass audience be misunderstood. But despite all of this, I am still by far the most difficult person I have to lead day in and day out.
Not only am I the most difficult, but I am also the most critical person that needs my attention. People care far more about who they follow than what they follow. As goes the leader, so goes the team.
5 Areas To Lead Yourself Better
Laziness – The number one cause of laziness is lack of comfort. I naturally gravitate towards activities I am comfortable with and push off things that make me uncomfortable. For example, constantly checking email and Facebook instead of getting on the phone and making the tough call.
Time management – Have you ever worked hard all day only to get home and wonder what you actually accomplished? In most cases I feel this way when I have been reactive rather proactive. Think architect, rather than firefighter. If you spend all your time putting out fires, nothing will get built. Yes, some fires need your attention, but not at the expense of stopping all forward progress.
Attitude – It is surprising the difference a good attitude can make. When I find myself stuck in a bad mood I am less productive, less happy, and more stressed. On the days that I am in a good mood I feel more productive than ever. Most people fall victims to their attitudes and fail to realize that attitude is a choice. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it. Also, the leader sets the tone for their team. If the leader is having a bad day, everyone is having a bad day. You are the catalyst for the moral of your troops.
Vision – Without vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18). As the leader, it is your responsibility to carry the vision. If you don’t, other people will. And that is how leaders wake up and find themselves running an organization they don’t even like. Or in ministry, a church they wouldn’t want to attend if they weren’t the pastor. All vision drifts over time. Whether it is being distracted, allowing other people hijacking the vision, or never searching deep enough to fully know what the actual vision is, leaders must constantly fight to keep their vision on target and burning red hot.
Temptation – Every leader must set up guardrails so they don’t swerve off a cliff. No matter how strong of a person you are, every leader will eventual be tempted to exploit their power, cut corners, use people, bend the truth, or gratify their own selfish desires. Just look at the recent downfalls of “great” men like Tiger Woods or Joe Paterno. It only takes one lapse of character to forever tarnish your legacy. For most leaders, personal integrity is a daily battle. And one loss can cost you the war.
So if you feel like leading yourself is a struggle, you are not alone. This is nothing new. Even the great Christian leader, Paul, had the same frustration. (Romans 7:15,19)
What is your biggest self-leadership challenge?