Every great leader has several important qualities that make them successful. Of these important qualities, two of the most critical things every leader needs to possess is a strong sense of self-awareness, and the ability to truly connect with others. Developing these skills can have numerous benefits in both your personal and professional life. 

To dig deeper into this topic, I spoke with Sarah Cordner. Here, we discuss what self-leadership is, why it’s important, how it affects organisations, and more.

Let’s dive in!

So, what does self-leadership really mean?  

According to Sarah, “It’s about who you are, what you stand for, what motivates you and as importantly, what triggers you when things don’t go so well. It's effectively self-awareness. That’s what self-leadership is. And then importantly, once you understand who you are, you can grow even more. You can make the conscious decision to improve, because you're aware enough to go, ‘This isn’t working for me. I need to make this change in my behaviour,’ or whatever it might be to improve your outcomes”.

Leadership isn’t just for those with the title “CEO”, “Chief”, or “President”. Leadership happens in many different contexts, including in the self-context, and at every level of an organisation, regardless of what titles or status symbols might be at play. 

Tips to Develop Self-Leadership Skills

Developing self-leadership skills isn’t always easy; some people have those “lightbulb” moments where they gain great clarity off the back of a pivotal moment on their self-leadership journey, while others encounter numerous challenges and learn that way. The most important thing is being open to acknowledging your shortcomings (we all have them), learning from them, and then making the firm decision to reframe your thinking by tapping into a more constructive mindset to help lead yourself forward.

On her self-awareness journey, Sarah’s lightbulb moment came with this realisation, “In order to get outcomes, you can’t be focused on the stuff you can’t change; you’ve got to be focused on the things you can change. And that was a really powerful shift for me. That was a real lightbulb moment in my self-awareness journey.”

A Strong Culture of Self-Leadership: Impact for Organisations 

In an organisation driven by a community of leaders, self-led members contribute through the leadership of their own personal initiative and build relationships based on trust and respect. This community approach to self leadership has multiple benefits to organisations including:

  • Empowered self-leaders are proactive contributors. People with strong self-leadership skills are aware of the importance of time management and prioritisation skills to help themselves, and the company achieve their goals. They proactively contribute ideas. They use their initiative to ensure the organisation can move forward and deliver outcomes, they don’t sit back and wait for someone to hand them the answers on a platter. 
  • It helps build strong connections within the organisation. One vital aspect of self-leadership is teaching others what you learn and then empowering them to learn too. People with strong self-leadership and social skills are willing to learn and willing to evolve. They also value relationships and help others.

Tips to Drive Stronger Connection in Your Team

To drive stronger connection in your team, here are some tips from Sarah:

  • Get to know your team better; understand them as humans, not just as workers. Once you get to know people, what they stand for, and what their interests are, it’s a lot easier to build deeper and more meaningful connections. Trust stems from meaningful connections, and with a foundation of trust in place, incredible things can be achieved. 
  • Don’t be scared. Be bold and reach out to make connections that perhaps prior to COVID, you wouldn’t have made. Whether that’s joining a Facebook group where you’re actually sharing ideas in a Facebook forum, or joining a new sporting team, or reaching out to ex-colleagues to catch up. When it comes to driving connection; we just have to take the first small step. 

Final Thoughts

The very best leaders lead by example. They know that self-leadership is crucial to success. When you understand who you are and take responsibility for how you show up, you’ll be able to make better decisions, build stronger connections and have a significantly more positive impact on those around you. People are more likely to trust and respect you and will be inspired to follow your lead.

So, what is your next step to lead yourself?

If you are truly ready to lead yourself and start driving meaningful change in your career and leadership, then jump on board with my brand new one hour Career Game Plan Masterclass. For just $27, and with a money back guarantee, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Watch it HERE

Listen to my full conversation with Sarah Cordner here.

About Sarah Cordner

Sarah is a senior leader and subject matter expert in eDiscovery consulting and project management and has worked for a number of top tier professional service firms and law firms over her 20 plus year career. Sarah is also a qualified coach and has developed a passion for enabling professionals, particularly women to develop into the leaders they would like to be led by her mantra is leadership of others starts with leadership of self. 

Sarah has also authored the Amazon bestseller, “From Surviving to Thriving: A Woman's Guide to Success and Self-Leadership in the Workplace”, which provides a simple yet powerful framework set in a professional context to help you overcome self-doubt.