How Much Time Do You Spend Leading Yourself?


Today’s post is written by my friend Nancy Reece. It’s practical and full of wisdom:

I ask my coaching clients and my MBA students that question early in our relationship. Looking at the compass here, do this exercise: If you took 100% of your time on an average week at work, what percentage would be spent:

  • Leading your boss/supervisor?
  • Leading your peers?
  • Leading your direct reports?
  • Leading yourself?

Your total numbers should add up to 100.

While the answers around the outside of the compass may vary depending on the industry and managerial level you find yourself in, the answer at the center of the compass should be 50%.

Research in emotional intelligence emphatically indicates that the ability to lead yourself well is a 2 to 1 predictor of success in the workplace – regardless of industry. How well you know yourself and to manage yourself in a variety of leadership situations and conflicts enables you to positively influence the people on the outside of the compass.

Leading yourself can include:

  • Learning and growing as a leader
  • Knowing your triggers in conflict and modifying your behaviors to deescalate the conflict
  • Understanding how you respond to change and choosing the best options that enable others to embrace change
  • Identifying when you are “stressed out” and making choices to reduce stress
  • Recognizing when to listen and when to respond

So as you start 2015, ask these questions about leading yourself.

(1)   How can the people around the outside of the compass tell that you have their best interests at heart? What actions and behaviors let them know you are there to serve?

(2)   When did integrity win? When did you make a choice to do the right thing, for the right reasons, despite the potential cost to you personally?

(3)   What progress did you make in living out your core values – personally and professionally? Would someone observing you from the outside be able to identify what’s most important to you?

(4)   How did your leadership produce fruit? Whose life was blessed because you took the time to invest in him or her?

Leading yourself is a process. You’ll make great strides and then slip backwards. Don’t beat yourself up when you struggle and make wrong choices. Just enjoy the process of becoming a leader who produces lasting fruit.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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