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5 ways to become a self-leader


Why should you become a self-leader?

“Because you can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself,” says Lisa Brizendine, an online instructor of teacher leadership courses for University of Phoenix.

Self-leaders, she explains, are people who know what they do well and then capitalize on their abilities. “You are the only person who can truly create a barrier to your success,” she emphasizes.

Here, Brizendine describes five ways to become a self-leader:


Know your strengths.

You must recognize the attributes you have to offer in order to use them. Self-leaders never dwell on their weaknesses, Brizendine notes, so ask yourself what you do really well.

For instance, you might consider the times people complimented you on a certain skill, such as how well you speak in public. Then, she suggests, try using that ability more — either personally or professionally.

At work, you could make more presentations or lead more discussions in meetings. In your personal life, you could do the same for a professional organization or charity.

“Focus on those things you do well, improve on them and become a champion in those areas,” Brizendine encourages.


Be informed.

“You don’t want to be behind a trend,” Brizendine stresses. “You want to be ahead of it.” Keep up with current practices in your field and showcase your leadership abilities by outlining new strategies to your boss based on what you’ve learned.

A self-leader also stays on top of what’s going on in the world, she notes, so set time aside each day to read, watch and listen to the news. In addition, she advises, keep tabs on the latest in social media and technology.


Write down goals.

It’s one thing to say you want to achieve certain things, Brizendine notes, “but once you’ve put it on paper, it means you’re serious. A written list of goals is hard to ignore. “You are able to focus more on what you want,” she asserts, “when you have written it down.”

She advises tackling goals in “tiny chunks,” concentrating on short-term priorities first. Once you’ve achieved those, she says, then determine what you’d like to accomplish long-term.


Evaluate your successes and failures.

Keep returning to your list of goals to revisit the ones you’ve reached and the ones you didn’t. Be honest with yourself, Brizendine emphasizes.

For instance, ask yourself if you actually achieved a particular goal or just part of it. If you didn’t meet the goal, try to determine why. Maybe you didn’t have a necessary skill or you didn’t spend enough time working on it. In either case, Brizendine says, ask yourself what you can do to gain that skill or allot the necessary time to accomplish what you want.


Stay on target.

The best self-leaders are constantly evaluating what will come next in their lives, focusing on what they have to do to meet their goals. Staying positive about your progress is key, Brizendine says, noting, “Nobody ever got anywhere being negative.”

Interested in furthering your education?