Dee Hock, Founder of VISA has been attributed with the following quote…


“If you want to lead, invest at least 40% of your time in leading yourself.”


After I mentioned this in a recent keynote speech, someone came up to me and asked: “How do I find 40% in an already crowded day?”

Great question! It’s a choice and then a decision. When leaders struggle with leading then it’s always a good place to start with self. It’s not about finding fault and laying blame in one’s leadership, it’s just that you have all the control of you and simply influence (not control) of others.

In your world, you are the central piece, so why not spend more time leading yourself.

In practical terms, sparking some focus on your value, voice or visibility is all about leading yourself. 

How do my values improve self-leadership?

  1. Increasing your self-awareness: this could be through an assessment that focuses on behavioural styles, emtoinal intellegicne, learning styles, anything that contributes to you understanding more about yourself.
  2. Strengthening your boundaries which will add to strengthening your self-worth.
  3. Re-connecting with your motivators. Like values, sometimes we get so busy, stuck in a rut, pushed that we can find ourselves in friction with our values and our motivators. What really motivates you?

How can my voice improve self-leadership?

  1. Self-talk. Are you aware of how you talk to yourself, how you talk about yourself, what you say to yourself when somethign goes well, when something doesn’t go well? 
  2. Speaking up. As a leader your people look to you for guidance, direction, and support. Your senior leaders also want to know how work is progressing and if it isn’t what ideas and options you’re considering. One of my favourite mentors when I was a young and green manager said to me, “A wall flower is pretty but it’s value is limited.”
  3. Interpersonal Communication is the basis for so what goes on every minute of the day. Any effort to improve communication skills is a smart investment.

How can my visibility improve self-leadership?

  1. How you see yourself, especially in the context of your role is worth exploring. Determining your self-image will influence how others see you too.
  2. Show up: even with far less networking events happening due to COVID, you can still show up and connect with peers in your organisation; industry associations; client/customer/stakeholder organisations, gives you a chance to learn what’s going on, be seen as a valued connection. A quick call, an email to say hi, even a one-on-one Teams or Zoom is better than being invisible.
  3. Stand Out: What’s one small act you can do you stand out. It’s easy to overthing this one. The smallest gesture could make the biggest difference to someone. Sharing an article with a colleague. Being more present with a team member. Asking a leader if they need a hand with something. Anticipating a leaders situation and doing something to help. Putting your hand up and saying “yes’, rather than waiting to be called on. These are just a few examples.

So, over to you, what one thing would you focus on to spark up – improve – your self-leadership? 

I’d love to know how you spend time on leading yourself.