Mastering Self Leadership – Lesson 1

6 Lessons for Becoming a More Effective Leader

Welcome to the audio series Mastering Self Leadership – 6 Keys to Becoming a More Effective Leader. Throughout each of the six lessons, you will identify how your inherent qualities as a person determine your influence as a leader.

You first lesson will help you clarify the core values that serve as the foundation for leading yourself during good and bad times.

Thinks of a time you stopped  and reflected on the influence you have as a leader, regardless of what you do at work? If you are a parent, you are a leader. If you organize a get-together with friends, you are a leader. If you step in to diffuse a heated conversation, you are a leader. Maybe you’re a leader in a community group or other volunteer position.

So, it is not a sign on the door or letters after your name that makes you a leader. It is how you behave as you step-up and into your leadership role while positively influencing others.

Furthermore, who you are as a leader will always come down to who you are as a person. And who you are as a person will always come down to who you really are, deep down, in your core. That’s where the real you lives.

But what do I mean by that? Am I calling you a phony? No, not at all. But like many of us, you may be living your life mostly on the surface. When you’re living your life on the surface, it’s easy to get caught up in busy-ness, constantly reacting to the external demands of others and situations.

There’s a problem with living your life on the surface and constantly reacting to external stimulus. You rarely take the time to pause and reflect on the situation which prevents you from strategizing or planning for the best results.

Of course, you may be fortunate enough to get by on your natural gifts and talents even when you react. Once in awhile, though, I bet you feel the pain of discomfort, and doubt creeps in about whether or not you’re making the right decisions. Sometimes you may even become concerned about bigger issues like where you’re going in your career or how to effectively handle a challenging situation.

The best way to deal with this discomfort, this uncertainty, this doubt, is to go deeper – right to your core. That’s where you’ll find your values and use them to make decisions about how to live an authentic life.  A life based on your experiences of happiness, pride, and fulfillment.

Now, the most confident, grounded and successful leaders tune into their core values for guidance while most of us just get by on past experiences alone!

Therefore, living your life from your core means that you have a deep knowledge and understanding of who you really are and what is most important to you. And that you have a profound commitment to stay true to you core values.

By doing so you pace your day in a way that allows you ample time to pause, reflect, strategize and plan. And when you need to make a decision, you make it from your core values.

When you do not allow your core values to guide you the pains of discomfort and self-doubt creep in. This is a sure sign that you’ve done something – or are about to contradict your core values.

Let’s say, for example, that you have a core value of collaboration. Your job, though, at times requires you to make quick decisions which impacts others and does not always allow you to ask for their point of view.  In fact, making quick decisions is happening more often than not. In tis case your value of collaboration is completely being tromped on, and that is not going to feel good.

As another example, let’s say you have a core value of clarity. After an\ heated discussion with your spouse, you were left wondering what the fight was actually about, what, if anything, you had agreed upon, and how things stood between the two of you. That would not feel good, either.

Whether you are conscious of them or not, your core values are driving what you do. When you’re living life on the surface, you tend to react instead of responding to your pains of discomfort or backtrack on a decision because you weren’t clear to begin with.

When you live your life from your core, you consciously rely on your values to guide your behavior and decision making. In fact, you invite them right up into the front seat of the car and let them steer the wheel while you put your foot on the gas.

Now that we’ve looked at the important role your core values play in your life as a whole, let’s take a closer look at four reasons why identifying your core values as a leader is so important.

First, when you don’t have a clear understanding of your values, you will inadvertently make decisions that contradict who you are, causing confusion and discomfort in yourself and others. You could also find yourself headed down a path that isn’t right for you and that takes you even further from who you are.

Second, part of your role as a leader is to hold on to the bigger picture of what’s important to your work individually and to the group as a whole. When your vision is grounded in your core values and your leadership role is positioned from the right perspective, you will naturally attract the people, resources and opportunities that are aligned and equipped to achieve the best results.

Third, when you lead from the core, rather than from the surface, your decisions will be based on future growth and possibility rather than being restricted to what you have actually experienced on the surface level.

Last but certainly not least, when you are clear on your values and operating from a place of clarity, you will be better able to communicate what’s important and empower your team.

Are you ready to tune into your core and stop living only on the surface? As we’ve discussed, doing this will help you be the best person, friend, spouse, parent, child, team member and leader that you can be.

If you would like to go further with this lesson, I have included an exercise: ’Defining and Living Your Core Values’. By completing the optional exercise you will clarify the values important to you and identify how to honor your values and also discover the obstacles preventing your from living your values.

Click ‘Defining and Living Your Core Values’ to download the file and complete the exercise.

Stay tuned for our next lesson in the Mastering Self-Leadership series, when we will explore the convictions that drive your leadership behavior.

Talk to you again soon!