In their second article in a series of articles on leadership, Debbie Craig and John Gatherer suggest that to be a really great leader, you need to master the art of self-leadership or personal mastery. They take a closer look at how awareness, application and effectiveness of personal mastery can help you find meaning and purpose in life, and make a difference in the lives of others.
by Debbie Craig, Managing Director and John Gatherer, Chief Operations Officer - Catalyst Consulting
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Debbie Craig is the Managing Director of Catalyst Consulting and John Gatherer is the Chief Operations Officer at Catalyst Consulting. For more information, please contact
The first and best victory is to conquer self. – Plato
In our previous article we covered the competencies required for effective leadership as well as the potential derailing behaviours. It is a relatively simple task to make a list of the ideal characteristics you wish to experience in your boss. A more difficult task is to ask what it is that distinguishes the really great leaders from the rest. Is it their strategic insight, their ability to deliver, championing change in the organisation or building enduring relationships? In our experience in working with leaders over many years, the key distinguishing factor is an individual’s awareness, application and effectiveness of personal mastery.
To be a really effective leader (of yourself, your family or in the workplace), you need to be effective as an individual. You need to master the art of self-leadership or personal mastery, and be able to choose the most appropriate response and behaviour in any situation to get what you want. The starting point of any leadership development programme typically focuses on the realities associated with the qualities of each individual leader or delegate – “me, myself, I” – and what that profile truly represents. This is normally conducted through a number of diagnostic assessments that the leader completes, the results of which provide meaningful and constructive feedback and information that the leader can work through and address. These insights create the gap analysis and the actions and priorities that can then be developed to hone knowledge, skills and attitude for improving leadership effectiveness.
Today, one of the emerging focuses in leadership is the notion of the “authentic leader”, those innate qualities and meta-competencies pertaining to one’s natural leadership style – personal value sets, spontaneous behaviours and personal impact that encourages and motivates people, drives exceptional results and inspires followers to go “that extra mile!” The authentic leader or transformational leader has to, by definition, lead by example and can only be a role model if their behaviour, thinking and relational skills are exemplary and consistently applied. There is a mantra in leadership that states that “one needs to lead oneself before one can lead others.”
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Hamlet