Self-leadership, the forgotten power tool of individuals (and organization)

Ask any manager these three questions: “How important is it for you to have a purpose in your work?” “How important is it to be valued and treated as an adult in your work?” “Do you like to work?”. You know their answers, and they are VERY IMPORTANT, VERY IMPORTANT and YES.

Ask any manager then these three questions: “How important is it for your employees to have a purpose in their work?” “How important is it for them to be valued and treated as an adult in their work?” “Do your employees like to work?”. And their answers, are often NOT SURE,  PROBABLY IMPORTANT, and NO.

How come what we know is right for us, most of the time we assumed it’s different for the others? We could call this “the bias of our desired for uniqueness”, or the “curse of our hunger for power”, maybe the “downfall of our lack of confidence”. Whatever its name, it often means we denied others what they need. And this is especially true in business and organization, where structural models are often based on ancient model inherited from Taylorism area and the development of the early modern industry.

With now more than three decades of research data having highlighted how important it is for individuals to have a sense of purpose and being valued, and this whoever the organization’s member we are talking about from cleaning staff to management, it remains a mystery to still see companies operating under obsolete models preventing them from using the full potential of their workforce, and this potential lies within using people’s self-leadership.

What do we call Self-leadership? It is having a developed sense of who we are, what we can do, where we are going coupled with the ability to influence our communication, emotions and behaviors on the way to getting there (Inspired from Bryant, Kazan 2012). And behind the competency of Self-Leadership, we find skills such time-management, negotiation, communication, public speaking, emotional intelligence, autonomy, independence, stress management.

Not only we can recognize skills needed to address the famous VUCA world we are in, we see skills indispensable to being agile, to innovation and to thinking outside of the box.