July 21st, 2010 10:58 AM by Lehel S.
Lead Yourself Before You Lead Others - By Dave Osh ***------------------------------------------------------------
Do you remember the years after graduation? We were learning new skills, accumulating knowledge, becoming an expert in our field and earning higher salaries as we scaled the corporate ladder.
Our career soared until it stalled. Why?
Careers can ride on professional knowledge just for a certain distance. Sooner or later, gracefully or brutally, rapidly or slowly, we will discover that leadership is more about who we are than what we do.
Goethe wrote "before you can do something you must be something". We cannot be the inspirational leaders we hope to be if we feel miserable and depressed. We cannot inspire people to excel if we are unmotivated. We cannot lead teams to victory if we do not feel victorious.
There is an old story that brings home this point: A father was relaxing on a couch after a long day at the office reading a newspaper. His son playing around him disturbed his peaceful moments of the day. The father, fed up, ripped out a picture of the globe that was in the paper and tore it into as many tiny pieces as he could. 'Son, can you try to put this globe together?' asked the dad, hoping this would keep the little boy busy long enough to finish reading the paper. He was stunned when his son returned after a few minutes with the globe perfectly reassembled. 'How did you it son?' asked the astonished father. The kid smiled and replied 'Daddy, on the other side of the globe there was a picture of a person. Once I got the person together, the world was okay'.
Success begins within. It all starts by getting ourselves together. Once we do, our own world will be okay. We see the world not as it is, but as we are. By improving, refining and defining who we are, we see the world from more enlightened perspectives.
Leadership of others begins with our internal leadership. If we want to continue to grow we have to continue developing ourselves toward what we want to be as human beings. Self-awareness provides us the tools to achieve our goals in our working place, family, community and relationship.
We need to stop running if not completely clear on the ultimate destination. We may run the wrong way. Taking time for reflection and introspection allows us to analyze what to do and how to make continual improvements.
My personal growth starts with reading uplifting books for at least thirty minutes a day. Knowledge provides a great path to self awareness. You are probably thinking 'how can I find additional 30 minutes every day to read? Reading comes in many shapes and styles. Reading is a metaphor of gaining new knowledge continuously. Whether you read a book, listen to MP3 audio book, attend a seminar or read an ebook on your tablet, mobile or computer, you enrich your mind.
Every problem you want to solve, the solution lies within you. New knowledge will help you identify and act on it. Every mistake in life has already been made by somebody who wrote about it. If we want to be better communicators, superior parents, lovers and friends, reading and knowledge can guide us.
If you do not work from home, you probably have on average at least 30 minutes commuting to your workplace. Make it into your mobile university. Convert your toilet into a library. It just means making the commitment.
The type of person we will become in 5 years from now depends on the knowledge that we gain and the decisions we make because of this knowledge. Would you appreciate spending a few hours with Barack Obama or Bill Clinton? Do you want Dale Carnegie or Napoleon Hill to be your personal coach? Would you mind to be mentored by Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa? Or maybe learn creative thinking from Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin and Alexander Graham Bell? It's all in books.
Leaders commit to a lifelong learning. Learning no longer ends when we finish our last exam. It must continue as long as we live. Before we lead others we should lead ourselves. Self-awareness, reflection and introspection are proven ways to know ourselves and, hence, become role models to the people around us whether they are our colleagues, friends, spouses and children.
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About the Author:
Dave Osh is a forward thinking leader who has steered his way to the corporate pinnacle. His Thought Leadership blog is a wealth of stories, ideas, experiences, values, traits and skills which every manager who seeks a breakthrough towards international enterprise leadership needs.