It is obvious that personal leadership involves change. We may excuse ourselves from developing personal leadership by pointing to ingrained habits and attitudes firmly entrenched since early childhood; in the world of reality, however, we can see that people do change – often dramatically. It is possible to develop the art of personal leadership through changing habits and attitudes. Whether you pursue a course that leads to mediocrity or set out on a journey to outstanding success is a matter of your own free choice.
When you choose to break out of a conditioned existence and become all that your potential allows, give attention to these three areas:
◆ Self-knowledge. Before you can change old attitudes and habits that resulted from early conditioning, you must recognize their existence. Personal growth requires self-knowledge. Examine your values, your habits and the things you believe. Take a look at the desires that motivate you and the purpose you have for your life. Become aware of strengths you have upon which to build and the areas in which additional growth is needed.
◆ Goal setting. When you know who you are, recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and understand what is important to you in life, you are in a position to set challenging goals that will organize and direct your activity and make the best possible use of your potential.
◆ Attitudes and Habits. Attitudes are nothing more than habits of thought, and habits are developed. Just as you developed your present habits through the repetition of actions or thoughts, you can change attitudes and habits that are not working well for you. Identify the new habit or attitude you believe will be important to your success. Plan specific actions you can take and schedule them into your daily activity. Use whatever reminders are necessary to see that you take these actions until they become automatic from repetition.
As a leader, manager, and communicator, you may encounter many potential occasions for disagreement and dissatisfaction: your responsibilities may require you to relate decisions, post schedules, announce promotions, recommend or deny raises, change procedures, and provide other news — good and bad — to your team members.
To them, you are the organization.
When you secure the confidence, respect, and trust of both those you supervise and those you report to, you are able to execute your job with confidence. No one else has quite as much potential as you to influence that very important “bottom line.” A “bottom line” also exists for you personally. You are in a position to build an ongoing program of growth and development that will help you achieve whatever career goals are important to you. Whether you choose your present position as a lifelong career or want to earn more responsibilities in the organization, the skills you develop now will be useful all your life. Perhaps the executive works in a quiet, luxuriously furnished office where the only sound is the buzz of the intercom while you work in a small cubicle. Both are fulfilling the same purpose: getting the work of the organization done with and through other people.