Written by: Santarvis Brown, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Leadership is an art form and a science. As an art form, leadership is a creative outlet of communication, ideas, and implementation. As a science, leadership depends on your organizational and analytical skills to evaluate people, potential, and workplace improvement.
In the last few decades, there has been a massive push to better understand how to be a leader. Countless articles and thousands of books have been written simply on the topic of how to be a great leader. The emphasis of most of this literature is how leaders lead others. Yet, the precision of how to be a good leader – what is on the inside – is lacking. Great leaders understand the necessity of the ability to lead themselves.
Effective leadership is a journey that begins from within. I don’t mean from within the office or from within the conference room. I am talking from within ourselves. Great leaders are in a constant and ever-evolving world of self-reflection and self-awareness. Howard Thurman, author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader, had a lot of shoes to fill. But, his inner awareness was unmatched, as can be measured when he wrote the following in
The Sound of the Genuine:
“You are the only you that has ever lived; your idiom is the only idiom of its kind in all of existence and if you cannot hear the sound of the genuine in you, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls”
Simply put: if you don’t know yourself, then you cannot lead as you.
Leaders must have a sense of who they are before they can understand an effective leadership style that will work for them. So, how do you find your inner self?
Three methods I implement regularly are:
1. Self-reflection: the ability to evaluate your decisions and actions. This is the time where you can challenge yourself to improve on less than stellar decisions and acknowledge effective decisions. Remember, it is just as important to reflect and learn from your positive outcomes as it is from your challenging outcomes.
2. Awareness of limitations and areas of improvement: your guide to how you can become a better you and a better leader. We all have limitations. Understanding what our limitations are is how we learn where we can grow from. A limitation is something you may have difficulty with now, but in the future, with awareness, your current limitation maybe your future strength.
3. A constant willingness to improve: innate in those leaders who practice the understanding of self. We are all capable of reflection and awareness. We see it every new year when we dole out our resolutions. But it is those who stick with their improvement who succeed.
Leaders who lead themselves are accountable for themselves and their teams and have the ability to effectively self-manage and hit objectives with resilience and flexibility.
Santarvis Brown, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Santarvis Brown has spent 15+ years serving as a leader, innovator, and changemaker in education, showcasing in-depth insight as an administrator, educator, and program director. A noted speaker, researcher, and full professor, he has lent his speaking talent to many community and educational forums, serving as a keynote speaker. He has also penned several publications tackling issues in civic service, faith, leadership, and education.