WHAT IS PERSONAL LEADERSHIP EXACTLY & WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE OUTSTANDING PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS?
Traditionally, success has been defined by money, power and status but today, people of all ages are defining it by new, more rounded standards built on achieving personal satisfaction and a deeper sense of inner fulfilment. This means that success is very personal, it’s determined by what each unique individual wants it to be and can come in various forms.
In this respect, the old ways of moving up the corporate ladder to achieve formal leadership status is therefore no longer as valid because anyone can be empowered to lead in what they choose to do. Many entrepreneurs are now leading the way as individual business owners because their world today requires that they decide for themselves what kind of life they will lead and not what society dictates as the standard.
For example: Women entrepreneurs in particular are leading the way with smaller businesses that fit around their family life, not the other way around. In the USA alone, women owned business are growing at 2.5 times the national average.
“The real power of personal leadership then, lies in the self- assured ability to choose a direction for your own life and lead it your own way.
It comes from being open minded, fluid, agile and making the right choices for yourself, being in control of your life and career.
It demands that you lead yourself well and at the same time, lead by example to others, this kind of personal leadership is inspiring.
To some, this comes naturally but others can learn it too, it requires a strong element of not just looking in the mirror but behind it, to see what is deep inside and to question any conditioning before deciding on changes that will strengthen personal leadership skills in order to achieve whatever desired goals or aspirations you’ve set for yourself.
1. An understanding of why you are who you are today and how the conditioning influences of your past have shaped who you are.
2. Knowledge of how the key components of your brain works in order to maximize the power it has to move you forward and overcome the things that could hold you back.
3. That you learn how to master mind hacks that open you up to new ways of thinking and seeing things, providing powerful new perspectives.
4. Gaining clarity about where you’re heading and what specific improvements or changes need to be made.
5. Learning how to reprogram your mind to progress as effectively as possible in the direction you’ve decided upon.
6. The ability to foresee and overcome any obstacles or barriers to success. This aspect in particular is one that many overlook and it trips them up when they least expect it to.
7. Have an appropriate process that keeps you growing and achieving, one that helps accelerate your success.
All aspects of the above are covered comprehensively in my online course ‘Strong Minds Personal Leadership Mastery’ but point 7 is particularly important for anyone wanting to lead the person in the mirror better to become more competent, confident and successful.
By way of example, my first introduction to enterprise level negotiation and deal-making was a rude awakening because I entered the arena with bucket loads of self-belief, only to find that I was totally unprepared for what was to come, through my own ignorance.
I’d joined the National Sales Team of a major directory publisher as the youngest account manager by far. “All the existing account managers are old men (they were in their late 30’s) who play golf half the week and sleep in the afternoons, I’ll show them how to do it” I said to my boss!
And then, OUCH! It was a whole new game dealing with enterprise level customers compared to small businesses and during my first year in the role, I learned that I just wasn’t the bees knees after all.
I needed a way to lift my expertise (from virtually nothing) if I was going to be credibleenough to compete with the peers I now had respect for and importantly, win the trustand business of major clients. These factors became what I termed the ‘3 Step CRT Influence Process’.
I managed to achieve this and gained recognition with ‘Distinguished Sales Awards’ and even a one-off ‘Outstanding Contribution to Business Award’ too but not without some research and study but also some help from my peers. Success therefore came in two ways:
I invested both my own money and time in relevant education over and above anything my company was providing, which wasn’t much. This included gaining insights into business from world renowned ‘thought leaders’ across a wide range of business matters.
By adding such knowledge, I saw my credibility with senior execs increase, respect be afforded me for the advice I gave and ultimately trust was earned in a way that set me apart from my competitors.
I obviously don’t know your preferred learning style but for me, it had to be quick, easy and most of all — impactful!!! I wanted information that would make a meaningful contribution to what I did for a living and not just information for information sake.
I researched many options and came across some outstanding ways to learn easy, learn fast and learn well by way of summary books that could be read and digested easily in an evening or weekend and audio books that I could listen to whilst driving or flying, which I did a lot of in those days. I found the following to be invaluable:
Soundview Executive Book Summaries because they took the best selling business books published each year and condensed them into just 8 pages typically. So, there’s no filler of fluff, just the core messages.
I also used Harvard Business Reviews because these gave me access to articles not available elsewhere and which, were also like complete books condensed into just a few pages.
I’ve also referred to compressed non-fiction books via portals like https://www.getabstract.com/en/ because each book summary includes: 1) a rating, 2) the top take-aways, 3) a full summary, 4) significant quotes, 5) an author biography and other key points — all of which can be absorbed in less than ten minutes.
In terms of audio, I’ve used a vast array of providers from direct companies to audio portals like iTunes, Soundcloud and https://www.audible.com/ in particular because of their extensive catalogue of over 21,000 business books by category, published date, length and language.
In my ‘Six-Figure Success Essentials’ framework (so called because it enabled me to earn my first 6 figure income early in my career) I include Self-Education as a key element in achieving success beyond what you might think is currently possible. It opens doors and adds to your competence and self-confidence in ways you just wouldn’t believe.
It’s a never-ending journey of growth and personal achievement but most of all; it’s an enjoyable and rewarding one if you possess the inner drive to develop strong Personal Leadership.
Whatever you learn, try it out by putting it into practice as soon as possible, otherwise it just becomes another piece of information stored in your head doing nothing.
Make sure your education is not just academic but is practical in nature, e.g. I invested time with my peers, shadowing, observing, asking questions and testing their methods with my style.
I didn’t learn masses but the quality of advice was brilliant. In fact, learning from one of my senior peers in particular was so simple and yet made such an impact on my results that I replaced him as the top performer. I’m truly thankful for this and have to give credit for much of my success to some of my ‘old’ colleagues.
I received three key pieces of very wise advice from this one colleague in particular:
1. Get clients to visit Head Office to a) impress them with the quality of processes and b) increase the number of internal contacts that could take pressure off him from an admin point of view. Because when he’d done so, he never lost a client and it helped ensure his customer retention was the highest in the company. This can be a real winner in what’s becoming a ‘virtual’ world where people meet less and less face to face.
2. Take clients to lunch, not as a gift or perk but because when you did this, you get behind their work mask, uncover personal challenges and motivations, and build a stronger, more credible, respectful and trusting (CRT) relationship. Working on a business intelligence contract not so long ago, I see this happening a lot of the time in the ‘square mile’ the financial heartbeat of London.
3. Negotiate with your company on the behalf of the customer, rather than the other way round because if you do the best possible deal (within company guidelines of course) for the customer, it ends up being the best deal for the company too. This enables the customer to get a better return on their investment (ROI) and is therefore more like to stay as a customer but also increase their spend with you compared with your competition.
Being young and a bit naive (otherwise known as ignorance) I’d considered items 1 and 2 as frilly, fluffy stuff that were more like schmoozing than being professional and businesslike. Once explained to me though, they became part of my modus operandi too.
As for item 3, I’d always considered myself a strong negotiator and got the best price I could from customers but my customer retention was not brilliant, until I applied my colleagues’ advice. I’m sure some companies would still balk at the idea of number 3, just as I did before understanding what it could do for me personally but also for my company and of course, for my customers. This piece of advice was a sure-fire ‘win-win-win’ combination.
The investment in my own business education, added to the 3 specific pieces of advice from my colleague enabled me to break records for customer retention, growth and new business generation all in the same year.
This is in no way meant to sound like I’m bragging but rather, that a) adding to your own knowledge and b) learning from the top performers (and most are willing to share if you ask nicely) is a powerful combination to improved performance, higher status in terms of respect from those around you and of course, increases in income too.
Using your initiative and being able to think independently is of course important but mastering Personal Leadership dives far deeper than either of these two characteristics, it determines who you are for others, which is the only way you’ll reach your full potential and max out on results.
TO WRAP UP, I’D SAY:
“Consider your Personal Leadership development as a research project of enormous significance to you because that’s exactly what it is, a project in self-science that enables self-exploration, self-discovery, self-knowledge, self-understanding and ultimately, self-fulfilment”.
The above is a just a small section from my Strong Minds Personal Leadership Mastery online program. If it resonates and you’re interested to know more, you can check out the course curriculum here.
Author of Strong Minds, The Complete Guide to Understand & Use The Full Power of Your Mind. Just published on Amazon Kindle.
Originally published at medium.com