Self-leadership is where supervisors must begin. To become a better supervisor, invest time in becoming a better leader. You can accelerate learning through training and validate it through experience.
Supervisory leadership includes the set of attitudes, skills, and behaviors that equip supervisors to inspire and enable people to accomplish daily goals. Supervisors who are effective leaders help employees perform at their best and stay productive.
Foundation of All Leadership
Self-leadership is the foundation of all leadership. So to be able to lead others more effectively, you’ve got to learn to lead yourself.
Self-leadership is the ability to influence yourself to live your best version each day to achieve your dreams. Pay attention to your intentions. Live on purpose and walk your talk.
In short, you define your vision, mission, values, objectives, and goals for yourself. Then, you execute with discipline because you are running your most important business: your life.
What Is Self-leadership?
Self-leadership or personal leadership is a discipline of understanding who you are, why you exist, and what you can do to impact the world. It is also the first level of leadership. Indeed, you do not expect others to follow you if you cannot direct your ways.
No one expects you to have attained self-mastery because of your promotion to supervisory jobs.
However, people expect a better version of themselves when they step on the plate.
You will influence people. You can instruct your direct reports to do their jobs because you have legitimate power, but they’ll get fully engaged and walk the extra mile because they respect you.
Earn their respect by leading yourself.
How to Develop Self-Leadership
You can develop self-leadership skills. It is the same as most leadership skills; you become good at it through deliberate practice.
1. Appreciate Your Assets and Build On Your Strengths
You likely got the promotion because of your excellent performance, and the organization knows you are ready for the next challenges.
But nobody expects you to do the same things you have done before.
Before you make your next move, take account of your assets. Consider your passion, talents, and skills that will be useful in leading others.
Focusing on your strengths has many advantages. First, it helps you move forward faster. You can build yourself by stacking small successes.
Supervisors become more competent by learning from experiences, and they learn best when working on their strengths.
2. Evaluate Your Position
Once you get appointed to the supervisory level, you acquire positional powers. For example, you have legitimacy, coercive, and reward powers. In addition, you can get things done because your direct reports must follow you.
Though you may use “please” and “may I request,” your instructions have weights.
I have trained hundreds of supervisors. The most common problem is that they don’t know the extent of their power. And because they don’t understand how powerful they are, they fail to achieve their most significant potential.
They refuse to make a decision and escalate issues like hot potatoes. They avoid conflict and confrontation. They tiptoe. And supervisors who tiptoe cannot stand firmly.
Read your job description. Understand the implications of your role to the success and failure of the organization. Sit down with your immediate supervisor and your human resource personnel so you can ask questions.
Do not hesitate to sound like you do not know, especially if you don’t know. Your immediate supervisor can tell you the goals, your duties, and the extent of your powers.
Study also how your role fits into the greater scheme of things. Consider how your performance will impact your internal customers. Please start with the mindset that you are a business partner to all of them.
You can go further. Study the strategic directions of your organization. Find out how your organizations make money. Doing so will help you perform well today and get promoted tomorrow.
3. Manage your emotions.
Getting into a supervisory role is an achievement. People trust you. They expect you to lead them. But remember that before leading others, you have to lead yourself.
You will face many challenges, and each one will bring out emotions that you must control. You have feelings. Sometimes, you will be angry, frustrated, discouraged, lonely, and happy. You don’t need to show all your emotions, especially when deciding.
For example, you won’t allow your feelings to color your email communication.
In my experience, talking to people when you are angry does not always help.
You need to be aware of your feelings when coaching or giving feedback. If unchecked, you would communicate your emotions more than your message.
4. Walk the talk
Your people must practice behaviors that produce the best results to become successful. You will expect everyone to be self-driven, committed, loyal, customer-oriented, focused, and easy to work with.
As a leader, you will set expectations. You know that when people behave opposite to expectations, they’ll likely delay or sabotage the achievement of goals.
Here’s the most challenging part: you need to model the way. You have to model the behaviors you expect from your subordinates. This principle is not negotiable. Practice what you preach.
So, if you want them to value teamwork, you have to show two things: you are an excellent team leader to them and a good team player. In addition, show them that you respect your manager because you want them to respect you.
If you want your members to take the initiative and accept new projects, you should show the same attitude.
Here’s what you can do to ensure that you walk the talk.
First, write all the values you want your people to embrace. Then, identify all the behaviors that align with these values. This simple exercise will show you the changes in behavior you need to practice now that you are a supervisor.
This is the essence of self-leadership: you model the way.
5. Understand Your Goals
Being busy does not make you an excellent supervisor. Though it is essential to measure your output, you ought to fully understand the goals you want to achieve.
Let me illustrate this by giving you an example.
I hired an employee who is responsible for social media marketing. She has academic credentials and, based on the interviews, has shown that she knows about Facebook and Instagram marketing. Her supervisor was proud of her too. At last, she had someone who knew how to get things done.
After three weeks, they reported the number of marketing collaterals they created. They self-congratulated themselves for the increased number of likes, shares, and “engagement” their videos have.
They sponsored these videos and did not have to pay much because the social media platform rewarded engaging content. To their minds, they achieved their goals beyond expectations.
When they stopped reporting, I told them that something was missing.
“Please tell me the number of training inquiries, presentations, and deals we closed because of what you have done.”
They had no idea. The marketing supervisor explained that she did not think monitoring the number of new clients was necessary.
My friend, you must be clear about your goals. For every investment, you need a return on investment (ROI).
Self-leadership requires you are clear about your goals.
6. Plan for Success
What makes a supervisor successful? The quick answer is that you get things done. That’s the very minimum. But if you want to stand out, you need to step up.
I gave you a hint when I encouraged you to understand your goals. The ROI I mentioned above is for organizational goals. Some goals have more impact than others. Your goals are success measures.
But how do you define your success as a leader?
You can define success by yourself. Or you can get the help of subordinates and your manager.
Success is to create that future you really (and your people) care about most. If you transform work from A to B, reaching B is a success.
Self-leadership is taking the initiative to plan for success.
You will not wait and see. Instead, you look into your current state, take inventory of all the assets and opportunities, and consider how you will use them to achieve success.
7, Learn New Skills
I bet that you are a high performer. That’s probably the reason why you got promoted to a supervisory role. You get things done.
It is imperative that you develop supervisory skills. [mfn] Explore these skills of kickass supervisors. [/mfn]
It will also help you if you master some meta-skills. One of these meta-skills is learning how to learn. Most of us have access to terabytes of information. But not everyone can identify the information they need. Learning to lead is a skill that accelerates and multiplies results.
Working with others requires that you develop interpersonal skills. People vary, and you must relate to them differently.
You need to learn leadership skills like delegation, conflict management, and leading teams as a leader.
Self-leadership is you taking charge of your personal growth. You ought to lead yourself first before you lead others.
I recommended seven ways to accelerate your progress.
- Appreciate Your Assets
- Evaluate Your Position
- Manage Your Emotions
- Walk the Talk
- Understand Your Goals
- Plan for Success
- Learn New Skills
Enjoy your new role. You are now in charge.