Skip to content

Do you have any idea of the impact of your Self-Leadership?

When I met Emma we had both just turned 30 and were working within the same organization. She was a charismatic, intelligent and enthusiastic young woman who   exuded an energy that she didn’t seem at all aware of, but that everyone around her could easily sense. Her laughter had the power to conquer each room and corridor of our office, instilling in us the joy and pleasure of being part of the same team. Emma was simply excellent in everything she did and, for this reason we used to ask her opinion in case of any doubt we had.

Intent on observing her when she took the floor during meetings among colleagues and captivated by her beauty and the brilliance of her speeches, I often thought that she would be able, in a short time, to open all the doors necessary for the most brilliant of the professional ascents. I imagined that someday in the future, we would perhaps meet somewhere in the world, and she would tell me, happily, about the role of power she finally held. It would be the role she dreamed of and deserved.

However, Emma was also a tormented young woman, and this torment radically transformed her in some very specific situations. Whenever we had to deal with important exponents of our professional sector, in fact, whether they were ministerial representatives, directors of international organizations, key members of the European Commission or corporate managers, Emma turned into a dull copy of herself.

However, Emma had another side to her. In specific situations involving important figures in our professional sector, such as ministerial representatives, international organization directors, or corporate managers, Emma transformed into a different person. She doubted herself and felt inadequate. She believed she lacked the dynamism, preparation, and strength to handle such crucial negotiations. It was her conviction, and no matter how much we tried, we couldn’t convince her otherwise.

“I’m not enough”. Not dynamic, prepared, nor strong enough to successfully manage important negotiations with influential people: that was my young colleague’s conviction in these circumstances. There was nothing I could do to prove to Emma how foolish her belief was. Yet what looked like nonsense to me, and our colleagues was for her an objective and granitic reality, which triggered anxiogenic expectations in her, such as making irreversible mistakes or being judged as incompetent for example.

Nothing could be crazier from my point of view, and nothing could be truer from hers. Emma’s self-limiting behaviours drove her away from herself, or rather, from being the best version of herself: the winning woman who brightened  our days in the office and led the team to achieve important professional milestones.

Serious, silent and sometimes also rude, Emma seemed to unconsciously do everything not only to stay on the background of the discussions, but also to appear unhelpful or uninteresting for the purposes of the meeting. As a result, the external participants generally tended to exclude her, thus preferentially interacting with me and my colleagues, and this for Emma was nothing more than a simple confirmation to what she was convinced of: “I am not enough for these people, nor for these important goals”.

This was an instinctive mental mechanism that, on the long run, polluted Emma’s whole professional life, corroding her self-confidence, choices and serenity, and increasing her levels of stress and uneasiness.

From the day I left that office to start a new job in another organization, I never met my young colleague again. I looked for her a few times, but she seems to have disappeared. Gone from our professional environment, gone from social media.

Emma’s story is only one of the thousands of experiences I can share to introduce such an important topic as the Self-Leadership, and give you an idea of its crucial importance and possible negative impact when we do not adequately take care of it.

So, what exactly is self-leadership?

It is the ability to self-know, self-manage and self-drive towards the goals we desire to achieve, and the person we wish to be.

Self-knowledge means that we are aware of our resources and, above all, of our self-limiting behaviours. Self-limiting behaviours are all the recurrent mechanisms that we instinctively and unconsciously trigger in some specific situations, or life’s moment, and that affect the results we achieve.

Do you periodically face similar problems? Do you repeatedly deal with relational issues, in your professional or family environment? Are you often in a conflict, with yourself or with anyone else?

Well, if your answer to one or more of the above questions is yes, this may depend on some of your behavioural modes, which you probably do not know, but you habitually enact, and that hamper your existence.

Self-management and self-drive mean that we are able to replace our self-limiting behaviours with empowering ones, enabling us to perform up to our fullest potential and disclose our best self, to meet our expectations and achieve the objectives that we desire.

In the long run, a feeble self-leadership corrodes our self-confidence and the pleasure of feeling happy with yourself. It makes our accomplishments hard, or even impossible. It jeopardises our wellbeing and joy. It poisons our relationships.

As it happened to Emma.

On the contrary, a strong self-leadership allows us to make the right choices, effectively set and attain short and long run goals, grow, influence others, understand and solve problems, and manage difficult situations.

In a few words, self-leadership is one of the main keys to fulfilment. 

But that’s not all.

As a senior expert in systemic change management, I can daily experience how and how much self-awareness, as well as the ability to self-manage and self-drive, are also crucial to implement and guide transitions and transformations, from current conditions to future and improved ones. Definitely, we cannot lead the other people nor guide any professional, social, economic or political environment to a development objective, if we can not lead ourselves first.

For this reason, in most of my training programmes on Change Management, Organizational Change, Transformative Leadership or Women Empowerment, Self-Leadership is the first topic that I address.

How can we build and strengthen our self-leadership? 

Contrary to common belief, self-leadership is not an innate talent, but rather a skill that everybody can feed and reinforce, through the development of relevant knowledge, the practice of specific methods and tools, the use of result-oriented strategies, and dedication.

As sport champions invest their time in daily body training to excel in their field, self-leaders invest a part of their resources in daily exercises of self-empowerment to bring light and meaning to their existence. And the rewards are truly worth it!

Do you want to know more about it?

What is your experience?

Torna su