Leadership Habits, Start With You

To lead others, you must first lead yourself. Lead by example, lead with gusto, lead with a vision – regardless of the origins of your leadership inspiration, practice being a leader on yourself first.

There is a false notion that when a person rises to a formal leadership position, they are also bestowed the necessary wisdom and knowledge to effectively lead and manage a department/staff etc. The reality is that the magic wand and unicorn are not provided until we reach the level of corporate Vice President. All joking aside, everyday is your training ground to prepare for the trials of being a leader. Everyday is a job interview, there is always someone watching.  If you have an interest in a formal leadership position, to be the boss, develop leadership habits today and practice on yourself.

Here  are some things to consider as you lead yourself:

  1. Become a constant learner – never pass up an opportunity to learn. Take a class, attend a seminar, attend a conference, or simply watch a free class with iTunes U.
  2. Lead by Example or Fake it to you make it. Look for opportunities to step up at work. Volunteer to lead a project, come to the table with solutions and step out of your comfort zone, be bold and ask how you can fill in when your boss is preparing to go on vacation.
  3. Fill your gaps. Conduct a skills assessment on yourself. Consider the daily tasks you will conduct at the next level in your career. Consider what skills need to be developed in order for you to be successful in that role and set a plan to fill those gaps.
  4. Don’t be a victim, no good will come of it. Keep the focus on your sphere of influence rather then how the actions of others led to your situation. Take stock in where you are, look to where you want to be and move forward. Even if you don’t know your exact destination. You likely have identified a few nice stops along the way. Focus on those stops and what it will take to get there and start by planning to accomplish those small goals for yourself.

Failing to plan is planning to fail” – the popular adage often attributed to Benjamin Franklin.

Other resources on the topic:

Lead yourself First

Simple Reason to Learn to Lead yourself first

Leadership Styles

3 ways to lead yourself (so you can lead others)

What did I forget? What other advice do you have for those who are preparing themselves for formal leadership roles?

4 thoughts on “Leadership Habits, Start With You

  1. I enjoyed your post Deb. I think finding a strong mentor is another helpful step. I don’t think it matters if that person inside or outside of your current organization, it just matters that you admire their leadership style and they are willing to help you get to the next level.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb Willems

      Hello Jessie, thank you for the comment. You are correct a strong Mentor or personal board of directors is a great step.
      Look for an upcoming post on the topic!


  2. Hi Deb,

    Great first post! Fake it till you make it really hits home with me. When I moved over into my leadership position in Quality. I knew nothing about quality (and am still not as well versed as my employees) however, I am not afraid to take on any challenge and try and figure out a solution. Someone out there must have the information/knowledge you are looking for, all you have to do is find it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb Willems

      Hello Arianna –

      You reminded me of a great motivational speech that fits right in to where you are (or were) when you jumped into your new role. I have starting drafting up a future blog post on the topic.

      I hope you’ve built up your confidence, found those mentors and feel strong in your new role, Although I suspect most of us don’t feel as strong on the inside as we project outwardly.

      Thank you for your comment & sharing your experience with us.



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