iN the centuries to come, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important events historians will see will not technology, not the Internet, but the unprecedented change knowledge has brought to the human condition.
It is only when you examine your life that you get to know yourself and understand your values, motives and talents.
It is in developing these personal insights that provides the foundation of all successful leadership, and it is only as you examine your life that you are able to identify the changes you need to develop your leadership.
Until you truly know yourself, your strengths, what you want and why, you cannot succeed in any leadership venture.
Leadership begins with leading yourself. Developing as a leader is intertwined with knowledge and personal development. Which is why knowing yourself is the foundation of successful leadership.
No leader sets out to be a leader; people set out to live their lives, expressing themselves in their passions. When that expression is of value, they become leaders.
So, the point isn’t becoming a leader; it is to become yourself, to use yourself, to use all of your skills, gifts and energies to make your vision manifest.
You must withhold nothing. You must become the person you wanted to be, enjoying the process of achieving your goal.
You cannot lead without understanding who you are. Becoming a leader starts from knowing yourself and what you want to accomplish with your life.
The quest for leadership, therefore, is an inner quest to discover who you are and what you care about. Just as your reflection in a mirror reveals changes you need to make to your appearance, so does self-awareness help you identify beliefs and behaviours you need to change to improve your leadership.
Knowing your personality, values and desires allows you to be proactive in the choices you make and how you lead.
In their journey, leaders have developed self-knowledge in some important areas. Leaders know what they stand for. They knew their values, they are clear on what motivates them and know the impact they want to have on the world.
This understanding is the compass by which leaders navigate through life. Their personal values are often adopted from society and people in authority, such as parents, teachers, bosses and friends.
Leadership demands that you take responsibility for directing your life, expressing your own unique vision, purpose and values.
We learn from history that people expect their leaders to stand for something; hence leaders have clear set of principles, beliefs and values upon which their leadership is built and expressed.
When you are not clear about your values, you are easily swayed by the opinion of others. Thus, trust is lost or eroded when you are inconsistent in your decisions.
However, when you are clear as to your values, you are more consistent in your actions. Indeed, consistency of behaviour is critical to building trust. Your values impact on how you relate to people and the examples you set for others.
You must separate who you are and who you want to be from what the world thinks you are and wants you to be.
To succeed as a leader, you have to learn who you are. You must know what you are good at and what to learn for you to get the full benefit of your talents.
Great leaders exploit their strengths and manage their weaknesses. While you may be good at many things, you are only really great at a few things.
Self-aware leaders know the few things they are great at and are constantly working on improving on these few strengths.