I like to think of myself as a self leader. I know my strengths and weaknesses, desires, and character. However, being self aware is only the first step. Turning that awareness into action and actually becoming a self leader is tricky.
Sometimes when things don’t go my way, I need a reality check—and I ask myself a few simple questions.
What do I want from my job?
Six years ago I took a Situational Self Leadership course. One of the questions was What do you want from your job? My top 3 answers were interesting work; promotion and growth within the organization; and good working conditions. Ask yourself the same question.
Everyone in my group had different answers—and supervisors did, too. Your manager is not a mind reader. Tell them what you want from your job. If they can’t or won’t help you achieve what you need, think about who else can help.
Do I have assumed constraints?
When circus elephants are babies, they aren’t strong enough to break free from the chain around their ankle that connects them to a stake in the ground. By the time they reach adulthood and could easily break the chain, they have given up trying. Why? Because they assume they can’t, based on past events. Has this happened to you? Have you stopped trying because something didn’t go your way in the past? Don’t let assumed constraints hold you back.
Am I still leading my one to one meetings?
One to ones should be led by the direct report, not the manager. Are you going to your one to ones with agenda items you want to discuss, or are you being told what to discuss? Step into your one to ones prepared with answers, solutions, and recommendations. Lead the conversation and become empowered and autonomous.
When we get knocked back in life, it is really easy to resign ourselves and just do the day to day. I find that the above questions really help empower me to strive for more.
What do you do that makes you a self leader?