Self-leadership – How Does It Work?

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Self-leadership – How Does It Work?</span>

Self-leadership isn’t a new concept, yet it's been getting a lot of attention lately. So what does it mean, and what has made this type of leadership increasingly popular?

An overflowing email inbox. A calendar constantly filled with meetings. Countless tasks and problems to be completed and solved. And once they're done, there's always a steady stream of more tasks that must be addressed. Sound familiar?

When tasks pile up, it's easy to ramp up and start running even faster to keep up with everything that needs to be done. And increasing the pace can certainly be a good temporary solution – in many professions, it's necessary for the job and workday to function. However, in the long run, it can become overwhelming and quite burdensome to be constantly running. We also tend to lose motivation after realizing that the sprint race never seems to end.

We all need to pause, reflect, and consider where we're actually heading. And what about our colleagues? Are we even running in the same direction right now? And perhaps there's something we can change in our routines to make the work situation more sustainable? This is where self-leadership comes into the picture.

What Is Self-leadership?

As the name suggests, self-leadership means taking greater responsibility for managing your work and personal development. By planning and organizing your workday and learning to prioritize correctly, you can become more self-reliant. This, in turn, has several pleasant benefits, as it can enhance your personal growth, motivation, engagement, and performance. And not only that – both you as a manager and the company as a whole stand to gain a lot from self-leadership: you become more efficient and competitive while also reducing stress levels in the workplace – a win-win for everyone involved. But! Self-leadership doesn't just happen on its own; it requires reflection and understanding of what it means in order for it to work for everyone involved.

So, how do you start implementing self-leadership in a team, a workplace, or an organization? Here are some things both managers and employees can consider when it's time to develop self-leadership in the workplace.

What Works and What Doesn't?

How can I change what I'm not satisfied with? What are my strengths, and am I using them as effectively as possible? What are my weaknesses? What tasks would I like to do more or less in order to increase my motivation? Pausing, reflecting, and considering what in our workday is functioning well, but most importantly, what is not – that's one of the keys to self-leadership.

Prioritize Thoughtfully

Do you have a handle on your goals, both short-term and long-term? Great! Having a clear picture of where you're headed and when makes it much easier to prioritize correctly. One of the cornerstones of effective self-leadership is for you as a manager to clearly communicate both the organization's goals and your own goals and expectations: employees who know what the goal is and what is expected of them are more likely to embrace self-leadership.

Manage Stress Levels

How are stress levels at work? Is the work situation sustainable, not only from day to day but also on a long-term basis? How’s the situation for your colleagues? By continually asking these questions and considering whether something needs to change to create a more sustainable work situation, it becomes easier to counteract negative stress. This way, you gain a better overview and can also allocate time for recovery.

Greater Freedom = Increased Motivation

Have you started with the report that is due next week? Did you send that email? Did you call that client? A fundamental requirement for self-leadership is that, as a manager, you can trust that your employees will do the job even when you are not directly leading the work. It can be challenging for a manager to hand over some of the responsibility to their employees at first. Still, with greater personal accountability and the freedom to structure their work as they see fit, the employees' motivation will also increase.

As a manager, however, it’s important to remember that your role in a self-leadership team doesn’t mean less work. On the contrary, it becomes even more crucial to be available for support and feedback, set clear goals, and communicate your expectations and those of the organization.

Self-leadership – Three Tangible Tips

Implementing self-leadership in the workplace is obviously not something that happens overnight, but here are three tips that both managers and employees can start working on immediately.

  1. Reflect on yourself
    A good way to develop self-leadership is to reflect on yourself – how do I function in different situations? How do I feel, what do I think, how do I act, and why? It's about developing self-awareness: if you can understand yourself and your behavior in various situations, you will find it easier to lead yourself. A straightforward way to capture these insights is through daily evaluations (preferably in writing), where you summarize and reflect on your workday. How did it go? What could have been better? How did I act in the different situations that arose during my shift? Do I need to make any changes in the future?

  2. Take responsibility for decisions and results
    An essential component of self-leadership is the ability to make your own decisions and take responsibility for the outcomes. It's about developing confidence in decision-making and its consequences, as well as taking accountability even for incorrect decisions.

  3. Give each other feedback!
    Last but certainly not least, make sure to both receive and provide continuous feedback. Both you and your employees undoubtedly have insights and knowledge that can help each individual in their daily work and contribute to the team's development, taking your collaboration to the next level.

Bonus Tip: Take Control Over the Time Thieves

Do you and your colleagues want better control over how you spend your time? In the time management system Flex HRM Time, both managers and employees can gain valuable insights into where their hours go, making it an excellent tool for self-leadership. As a manager, you gain invaluable oversight and can support employees in planning their time and prioritizing tasks. As an employee, you quickly identify your time thieves and can easily adjust and reallocate the hours you spend on different projects.

We have also made time and project reporting as simple as possible in real-time with just one click on your mobile or web. If you want to learn more about time reporting in Flex HRM Time, please get in touch with us!

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