As we settle into the end of our first month of 2023, let us reflect on our goals for the year and whether we are achieving our ambitions. Self-leadership plays a critical role in our success.
Managers must strive to ensure that their staff move towards self-leadership while employees themselves should utilise self-leadership techniques actively and with purpose.
The first aspect of self-leadership is personal goal-setting. As an employee, you must set your own goals. If your company provides you with goals to meet, then set your own goals about how you will achieve those predetermined goals.
As a manager, do not prescribe goals in a heavy-handed top-down manner. Allow your employees to create their own goals and then derive the final goals based on their consultations with you.
Personally, all employees and managers alike should create, maintain, and update their own personal goals as it relates to their career, family, and overall life planning.
Successful individuals often develop their own personal business plans and reflect on them frequently with a team of mentors, coaches, and family.
Secondly, develop your own constructive thought pattern to utilise effective self-leadership. The whole idea surrounding constructive thought patterns often seems strange at first glance for individuals who have not implemented the practice.
The routine holds power. Simply implement two habits: positive self-talk and mental imagery.
Talk to yourself about your thoughts and actions. Take it a step further and talk to yourself about how exactly you desire your thoughts and actions to turn out.
Positive self-talk potentially raises our own self-efficacy. Psychologist Albert Bandura defines self-efficacy as our belief in our ability to succeed in certain situations.
Your belief in your own ability carries serious implications for how you approach challenges and goals in your life.
The second component of constructive thought patterns, mental imagery, becomes realised when you mentally practice conducting a particular task: a machine at work, talking to clients, practising a speech, for example.
Mentally go through the details of what and how to practice the task until it becomes second nature to you.
Then, mentally visualise yourself completing that same task and realise what success feels like and how you did it.
Third, encourage yourself and your employees to design natural rewards as a way of self-leadership. Incorporating natural rewards into your routine allows new ways for the job to become more motivating.
As an example, alter the way a task gets accomplished. If you stand up a lot at your job, find a way to accomplish the same task while sitting down.
If you enjoy teamwork, find a way to call customers as a team and, therefore, increase the enjoyment of your job.
Fourth, those who practice self-leadership also incorporate self-monitoring. Employees do not find it sufficient merely to set goals.
You must also track your progress against those goals. Otherwise, you swim in the tides of your life without the knowledge of how close you came to the shoreline.
Inasmuch, look for naturally occurring feedback. If you desire to become a better lecturer, for example, read the students’ reviews at the end of your course.
If you desire to become a stronger accountant, read the in-depth notes from your auditors. Further, also design artificial feedback.
Strong executives here in East Africa often retain an executive coach, such as Kenya’s renowned Meshack Ndirangu, as well as a team of mentors that hold them accountable to their own goals.
Fifth and final, employ self-reinforcement. Take a reinforcer only after completing a self-set goal. You could go see a movie with your spouse once you finish writing your monthly report to the board of directors.
You could start a fun task once you accomplish a task that you particularly dislike. Take a family trip to Mombasa once you finish and pass your annual audit.
More simply, a lecturer may go with colleagues to ArtCafé and enjoy a superbly baked lasagna after marking all the midterm examinations.
The key to success in self-reinforcement: stick to your own self-reward and do not otherwise take the reward unless you finish your goal.
Specifically, do not travel to Mombasa or eat lasagna without first finishing the tasks. Do not cheat!