Let’s head out on the trail for today and look for the traits that we need to infuse into our lives in order to be strong personal leaders. What is personal leadership? It is simply leading yourself. You being the boss of you – strong in character and integrity every minute of every day.
Why do some leaders start strong and finish weak, like Ken Lay, former CEO of Enron, and Linda Carne, former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia? Others start weak and end up finishing strong, like Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States.
What’s the difference between the leaders that finish strong and those that don’t? Personal leadership.
A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.
Steven Covey put it this way, “Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.” Here are those traits or values:
- You keep your commitments. You remain steady. You’re not tossed about like a ship on the sea. You’re resolved and resolute in your commitments whether it’s to another or to yourself.
- You control your impulses. You don’t give in to knee-jerk reactions or flirt with temptation. You decide ahead of time how you will respond when tempted to be impulsive so that when the moment comes, you respond with integrity.
- You are disciplined. You do what needs to be done, even when you don’t feel like it. You stop doing what’s not working and start doing what’s required.
- You’re predictable. You consistently do the right thing, even when it’s hard.
- You know yourself. Self-awareness is the first step to strong personal leadership. You know where you are strong and where you are weak. You don’t deceive yourself into thinking that you’re anything other than what you are.
- You make personal development is a high priority. You continue to learn, develop, and grow. You know that personal development is the key to growth and adding value wherever you are. It keeps you relevant.
- You’re strong – body, mind, and spirit. You examine every area of your life. You know that you’re only as strong as the weakest area of your life. So you’re intentional to keep every area strong.
- You sign up to do hard things. You take on challenges because they make you better, sharper, stronger, and more focused. And, you think that’s fun.
- You can look back in the last year and see how you’ve grown. You’re never the same person that you were even yesterday. You’re always getting better.
- You have no secrets…because there is nothing to hide. All that is hidden will one day be brought to light. It’s only a matter of time.
- You have a good attitude, even in bad times. A good attitude doesn’t mean you’re not realistic, it means you still have hope for the future. It means you know there is purpose in everything, even if you don’t see it at the moment.
- You look for solutions, not problems. You’re constantly working with the cards you’ve been dealt, making them the best hand possible.
- You take personal responsibility. You don’t spend any energy making excuses. You spend your energy on admitting your culpability and moving on. You know that the only thing you can control is yourself and by doing so, you can influence change.
- Your self-talk is positive yet accurate. You believe in yourself and that you can accomplish your dreams, yet you’re realistic enough to know that you need to work it, not just think it.
- You shine the spotlight on others. This shows a special kind of humility and self-confidence that demonstrates strength of character.
- You take the time to self-reflect. You take the time to sit still and reflect. You see patterns, connect dots, and discover deeper dimensions of yourself.
- You have patience. You know that the path to success isn’t a straight line. You have the patience to stay the course and keep doing the right thing. You know that it will pay off in the end if you don’t give up the fight.
- You look for wisdom and seek for understanding. You learn from others. You seek advice and ask for feedback.
Understanding and showing personal leadership is built on integrity and will lead to a rich and satisfying life that we should desire to obtain.
King David wrote in Psalms 119:1, “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord.”
King Solomon tells us in Proverbs 2:7, “He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.”
Make sure you’re a strong personal leader and only then will you be in a position to be a strong leader of others. Start strong. Stay strong. Finish strong.