5 Steps to Self-Leadership

This post is follow-up to Friday’s Post on Self-Leadership: Your Biggest Leadership Challenge.

Before one can lead others, they must first learn to lead themselves.

Start your week off right with these 5 Steps to Self-Leadership

Personal Goal Setting

Set personal goals, rather seeking motivation solely from goals established by a supervisor or department head. Personal ownership effects not only motivation, but pride and productivity.

Constructive Thought Patterns

Thing positively about your goals and what it will take to succeed. When I played basketball in high school, my coach told us to think through the game we were about to play. Imagine making shots. Imagine obstacles and how to go around them. Thinking negatively about the outcome of an event unquestionably influences commitment and performance; the opposite logically stands to be true.

Productive Environments

Alter a job or task so as to create a refreshing or challenging atmosphere where you might enjoy working in more. Work where you know you will get stuff done. For me, that is a coffee shop.

Self –Monitoring

Keep yourself personally accountable for task management, performance, and deadlines. Because one cannot view his own performance from a third-person point of view, creating systems of feedback add value to this element. Marshal Goldsmith recommends 360° Feedback, soliciting suggestions from peers and employees, and genuinely listening, and acting upon this information are key traits of effective leaders.


You often have control over a reward or consequence, which Skinner called reinforcers, but try choosing not to take it until a certain task is accomplished. Refrain from certain pleasures unless you finish a project on time. If I am working on a big project, I will reward myself with ice cream. I only get the reward if I finish well and on time. Or take a 10-minute break after every 10 pages read of a large textbook, or 20 pages of a normal-sized book.

Effective self-leadership always precedes effective team-leadership.

How do you effectively lead yourself? Do you use any of these?


  1. Self-monitoring is something I’ve found to be so important. Just the simple act of monitoring your progress and effort encourages you to do better and better. Studies have shown, for instance, that simply writing down what you eat has a drastic effect on the quality of your diet.

    • Not only do I agree with that, I have done that! There’s actually a great website for tracking your diet too (Dailyburn.com). The whole concept of self-awareness can improve time-management, eating habits, and relationships!

  2. Self-monitoring is something I’m starting to step more into, both for myself and for Ignite. I’ve always set goals and deadlines and such, but never really monitored whether I met those goals in the time I set, or how effectively I met them, etc. 

    I’m trying to determine first what is “success” for me in reaching various goals and then figuring out how to monitor whether or not I actually was successful and what might need to change.

    • It is imperative that we define success before we embark on any journey. This helps keep us aligned with our mission and purpose, and it also helps us know if we are close or need another plan of attack. Great comment!

  3. Lynnae Lawson says:

    I’d have to echo Jason when I say that self-monitoring is an area where I’m still growing. I’m a checklist sort of girl, so I always have my TO DO list written out and ready to go, but I’m not always the best at accomplishing those goals in a timely matter–especially when the “due date” is vague or absent. Like you mentioned in the post, I have started setting time limits that are backed with rewards–10 minutes of reading in that book I’ve been dying to read or one post on a blog–and that I follow through with my self-monitoring. If I don’t make my goal, I don’t get the reward!

    • I have used self-rewards since I was a teen. I cannot underscore their efficacy enough! It also helps everything (i.e. the purpose, goal, plan, progress, success) become more tangible in my mind!

  4. mattmcmorris says:

    I just recently starting working with a new system for setting and accomplishing daily goals. It’s really high tech! It involves 3×5 cards and a marker. Still in the early phases, but so far I like how it helps with that personal goal setting. Plan to write about it in a week or so if I like it at mattmcmorris.com.

    Good post, Noah!

    BTW… great conference there in Wisconsin! We enjoyed being there representing our ministries!

    • Great system! Looking forward to hearing more about it. Also, super glad you enjoyed the conference. It was such a blessing to be involved in it and work with a great team. Thank you all for coming!

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