Levels of Leadership

Leadership is a much misunderstood term, I think. It is so wrapped in the filters of experience that many of us lose track of what it really means. According to dictionary.com, a couple of meanings of leadership include "the capacity or ability to lead" and "guidance, direction". It is in the context of these definitions that I write this article.

Leadership actually occurs at multiple levels in life. Specifically:

  1. Personal
  2. Marriage/family
  3. Team
  4. Organization

At each of these levels there are challenges in and of our leadership, but the fundamental components of leadership remain across all of them. It is a few of those fundamentals that I'll challenge you to consider now.

Most of us do not think about leadership in the context of us alone. We usually believe that leadership requires someone else to lead. I argue, however, that for man of us personal leadership is the most difficult kind of leadership we ever undertake. One reason, I suspect, is that we can't fool ourselves! We can't overcome our personal doubts by acting confident and knowledgeable. We know the truth. We may not be 100% confident that we'll be able to overcome the challenges that we'll face along the path we've chosen. We may be facing fears or a lack of knowledge. We can't fool ourselves! We know the truth!

So, how do we lead ourselves? First, by digging deep. Remember all of that stuff about emotional commitment? If we are going to accomplish the transformations we seek, we need to connect at the deepest level of our psyche with why we seek them. If we are going to reach the objectives we lay before ourselves, we had better understand the true motivation for desiring them. Without that burning desire to acheive them, we have a much lower likelihood that we will be successful. There is simply not enough reason to press through the obstacles that undoubtedly arise. As Zig Ziglar has said, "You've got trouble in front of you." Without the compelling commitment, that trouble will be enough to cause us to give up.

I'm willing to bet that you've experienced that one or twice in life. At least.

If you spend the time and energy necessary to learn to lead yourself, it will serve you well in your other realms of leadership. Besides the underlying motivation to reach your personal objectives, there are other components of self-leadership.

Do you know what they are?

More next time...