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We must first lead ourselves, and then only then we can lead others.

Or, how self-reflection can support you to grow into a great leader!

Think back on all of the different leaders that you’ve had in your life and focus on the one that was most successful. What behaviors did they exhibit and what actions did they take that made them successful? Which leader was least successful and what behaviors did they demonstrate that made them that way? How were they different from the first leader? Finally, think about whether or not the unsuccessful leader was aware that the behaviors they were exhibiting were contributing to their lack of success.

There are various behaviors that could derail leaders. For example, the inability to build relationships or the failure to meet business expectations. There is also the inability to lead and build a team. The inability to adapt, remain flexible, goal focussed producing successes in the light of change and uncertainty. And finally, inadequate preparation for promotions can cause leaders to be unsuccessful due to inexperience.

The failure to meet their business goals is a pretty obvious behavior for a leader to notice about themselves, however, some of the other ones are not as obvious. For example, the inability to adapt, lead a team, or build relationships are all things that could easily be overlooked by a leader, leaving them wondering why they are not successful. Often, they instead revert to blaming and fault finding in others when this happens.

To prevent this, it is absolutely crucial for leaders to actively participate in self-reflection and embrace performance feedback.

Self-reflection in leadership means taking time out time to review yourself as a leader. It involves contemplating your current level of skills, strengths, weaknesses, behavioral patterns and how you seek to influence others. It is also about exploring and getting clarity on your values, goals and ambitions. All this serves to increase your self-awareness, alignment, authenticity, learning and growth. Self-reflection also contributes to improvement in your leadership skills and practice — including your emotional intelligence — and enables you to better understand others.

A good coach can help you get clearer about your goals and dreams, and about what you're capable of doing in order to achieve them. Your coach can teach you new ways of thinking and operating, new skills that will allow you to better reach your goals and create the career you want.

I have seen many executives grow as a result of collaborating with a skilled coach. But there are caveats.

1. Your coach has to be good.

2. You have to be coachable.

You have to be willing and open to go through the sometimes daunting and embarrassing process of acknowledging that you need to grow, and actually do what it takes to grow. Like any new endeavor, working with a coach can be challenging and even a little scary. But if you're brave, committed and curious, you'll find your coaching relationship can be a powerful catalyst to becoming the person you most want to be.

Curious? I work with people who want to have a significant impact, live joyful lives and build a sustainable future. If you’re feeling like you want to reflect on your leadership style, identify possible derailers and learn to deal with these effectively, but are uncertain exactly how to go about this, get in contact with me. You might find some benefit in us working together.

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