Why A Leader Must Lead Himself First

Culture tells us that one does not need to lead himself before he can lead others.

Lead yourself to lead others

Image by Zach Dischner

There’s a lot of reasons behind this belief. People believe leaders don’t have to lead themselves because:

People can be better at getting others to do things they don’t want to do

As long as others are being moved forward, it doesn’t matter where the leader stands

Leading others doesn’t require you to lead yourself

Listening to these excuses you can see how thin and flimsy they are. These excuses for bad leadership skills are people grasping for reasons why they don’t lead well.

Why You Must Lead Yourself First

You are the example: People look for leaders who are leading themselves well first. No one wants to follow someone who has their life in shambles.

It doesn’t make sense to follow someone who can’t make sense of their own lives.

Rather, they’re looking for an example to follow. They want someone who has it more together, even if it’s only a little bit more than themselves, to take charge and move forward.

You need self-control: A portion of leading yourself is teaching yourself self-control. This means you don’t freak out over volatile situations and you don’t lash out at those around you.

Without leading yourself in this area, it’s hard to lead others.

You have to have something to give: You have to lead yourself to great content to consume. You have to lead yourself to great mentors to follow. You have to lead yourself to a deeper sense of wisdom.

To lead well, you must have something to give. To get something to give, you must be leading yourself to the wells of leadership inspiration.

Your leadership hinges on how well you lead yourself. When you lead yourself, you gain the insights into leading others.

Don’t think you get a free pass. It’s up to you to make sure you’re going in the right direction.

Question: Do you believe you must lead yourself before you lead others? Why or why not? Let’s talk about it in the comments section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Yeah, I absolutely agree with you. Actually, I’m writing an article where I’m sharing my thoughts of this topic.

    I believe that if we want to help other, we must at fist start caring more about ourselves. Doesn’t matter whether your body or your spirit.

    At first, we have to care for ourselves. Or would you believe a broken person that teaches about personal development and spirituality?

    • I think that’s the issue, Tony. We have a lot of broken people (in the area they’re trying to led) leading when they need healing and rest.

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  • Angela Kudryashova

    I might not sound too convincing, but I know few examples, including myself, where you can lead people and make them do things for their’s and organisation’s good and have a total mess in your life while being that LEADER. The key skill in this situation is how well you ‘hide’ this mess and not show people your emotions. That, of course includes few competencies like self-control, emotional intelligence, etc. Could you agree?

    • Angela Kudryashova

      P.S. Obviously, it is not going to work for long. There are limits of the ‘mess’. =)

    • Angela, I agree you can lead like that for awhile. Like you said in your second comment, it only works for so long.

      Great leaders know this. That’s why they work through their issues…