Leadership through self management


The Dictionary reads

  1. The position or function of a leader
  2. Ability to lead
  3. An act or instance of leading
  4. The leaders of a group

In my opinion a person who displays great leadership qualities is a person who fore mostly has a VISION then and only then can we consider other qualities like having the ability to get their team to buy in on their vision to improve their results.


  1. Vision
  2. Empowerment
  3. Positive Attitude
  4. Adaptable Communication
  5. Empathy
  6. Gratitude
  7. Passion

Change is the only constant in the world; therefore a rigid leadership style limits your effectiveness and the need to be adaptable, flexible has never been so important to be more successful.

There are many kinds of leadership styles as there are leaders with varying levels of effectiveness. Although aligned to your personality, your leadership style should never be static; it should be adaptable to your people, organisation, and business environment.

The new world is full of volatility and all signs are that this volatility is here to stay. Leaders need to be able to adapt to and work within changing economic times, operating with the ups and downs of economic certainty without being paralysed to act. Too often leaders stall critical business actions in the face of uncertainty; they fear the unknown or the consequences. This inaction places businesses at risk and undermines innovation and progress.

With global economic uncertainty and a growing interdependence on emerging economies, we face a future filled with both opportunity and challenge. Brave leaders will embrace change. They will learn to be comfortable with this state of play and continue to drive progress.


Over the years, we have seen a shift from the traditional leadership approach, which almost solely favours ‘hard’ business skills – those around finance, analytics and strategy – towards a more balanced perspective incorporating right-brained visionary thinking, innovation, and people capabilities such as empathy, consultation and culture development. Today’s leaders need a combination of both styles and have to be fluid in knowing how and when to utilise or emphasize them.

Most of all, leaders must be willing to change. The management style that led your company or team to success in previous years may not be the best style for today’s challenges. Fortunately, good leadership can be learned.

A leader’s most important responsibility is macro management – strategic thinking about the business implications of external market influences such as political, economic and environmental change. It is your role to offer value and perspective to those you lead, to set the appropriate strategic course, and to be aware of the levers that impact performance


The Greatest realization in leadership is to understand and believe that there is minimal gains from pushing training and/or other external devises into people that are not engaged or do not have a desire to improve.

Therefore the greatest and most effective place to start leadership improvement is to improve their PERSONAL LEADERSHIP FIRST.


Understanding the two sides of leadership is important, but the bigger issue is how to put them into action. Leaders need to apply their leadership Essence and Form on four levels:

  • Leading oneself: Being clear on what one wants to be as a leader is the first step in leading oneself. You need to lead yourself before you can lead others.
  • Leading others (one-to-one): One-to-one leadership skills are often considered foundational, like communication skills, goal setting, delegating, etc.
  • Leading teams (one-to-group): In addition to one-to-one skills, leaders need to be able to lead and inspire individuals to work effectively together and achieve as a team.
  • Leading a work culture: We have found that the act of leading a work culture is distinct from leading others or leading teams. Many leaders focus on improving their one-to-one and one-to-group skills. However, today’s leader needs to understand what it takes to create a culture that enables the full engagement of employees.


A strategy is useless if it is not successfully implemented. Good leaders engage everyone in implementing a corporate strategy. They ensure it is understood and cascaded down to operational levels and embedded in individual performance indicators. Make the effort to expose yourself to varying business and leadership models, frameworks, tools and ideas that will help you translate strategy into action.


In order to change behaviours, and create new habits, focus on really stretching and challenging your leadership skills. Place yourself in new situations that take you out of your comfort zone, and help develop your global thinking, business knowledge and exposure.

Leaders like you can create a new vision for your role and change your behaviours accordingly. The key is self-awareness. To support this type of change, you can take a mixture of approaches.


As a business leader, your priority is often focused on developing those around you. Make time for you. You need to ensure you have your own comprehensive long term development plan to help you reach your own potential. This often works best when coupled with an executive coaching approach. Invest in executive coaching, an external program or an online development tool, which you can use tablets and smartphones, that allow for flexible learning.  Every few years challenge yourself to take on something bigger, to extend your network and learn new skills. Complete a short course, a mini-MBA or attend a global conference.

Ultimately, leadership is a life-long journey and there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ approach. If you are open, flexible, and have the ability to balance commerciality with astute people skills, this will translate into high levels of engagement, productivity, and ultimately, better business results.