Dan Black writes in his newly released book, The Leadership Mandate, “The foundation for positive influence is based on your ability to successfully lead and manage yourself.” I agree. I completely agree. The greatest leadership challenge I have is self-leadership. To lead oneself with excellence, is the prerequisite for all great leadership.

dansblack_3DDan Black ranks self-leadership as number one of the 10 essential elements of leadership. His point is that if we can’t master the first one, then the other nine are nearly impossible. Leading self is foundational to all leadership.

I’ve watched way too many leaders try to lead others and try to lead an organization while doing a rather poor job of leading themselves. Their influence never rises to the level of its highest potential. Here’s the deal, most people look at how we lead our own lives before they choose to follow us. They watch our attitude, our actions and our results before they gain the confidence we can lead them toward a better future.

In my own leadership journey, I’ve found Blacks’ observations to hit the bulls eye. In his new book, he talks about these five foundational elements for leading self:

Know yourself–This is about knowing who you are and how you have been created. Everyone has a God-designed uniquely-shaped purpose. Discover it. Live it. Find your significance in it.

Follow your core–This is about being a person of character and integrity. Authenticity is all about integration of the inner being and the outward behavior. Reputation is all about working on the external so you can impress others. Character is about allowing God to work on the inside so you become the person He intended you to be.

Take care of yourselfThis is about placing a priority on your overall well-being. Body, soul, mind and spirit are all equally a part of who God created us to become. We are stewards of what He has entrusted to us. Care well for each dimension of His creation.

Maintain a right attitudeThis is about choosing to always have a positive attitude. It starts with attitude. Everything tends to rise on fall on attitude. Be aware of your own as much as you are aware of the attitude of others.

Live a balanced lifeThis is about living a sustainable life. A quick burst and then a flame out doesn’t do anyone much good. Leadership is mostly a series of sprints that total the length of a marathon. As I wrote recently: Divert daily. Withdraw weekly. Abandon annually.

Yes. Absolutely. Your greatest influence as a leader will begin when you manage and lead yourself well. Determine to lead yourself well today for greater leadership impact tomorrow.


QUESTION: What would you add that has helped you to lead yourself well?  Please share it below.


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