Embracing change sparks growth, and the adaptation to working from home is no different. As we all continue another year of working remotely, it’s important to take advantage of the situation to push ourselves in different ways than we could in an office. Although it may not feel like it, working outside of the office asks that we rethink the way we produce work, connect and collaborate with others, and how we compartmentalize our time.
Because we no longer physically work side-by-side, one of the most valuable skills to develop when it comes to being a strong leader is your individual leadership. By having a dedicated sense of individual leadership in your approach to life, you not only push yourself to achieve greater personal success, but become a more positive and impactful leader of others.
Rather than traditional outward leadership that involves communicating with a team, juggling different personalities, and aligning stakeholders around common goals, individual leadership is an inward activity and therefore presents unique challenges.
Individual leadership starts, as you can imagine, with you, and involves many areas to focus on and master. Ambition and self-improvement are critical skills to asses to begin growing your control of individual leadership. You have to have the desire and commitment to improve yourself and your habits to get the most out of individual leadership.
Self-awareness is another important skill to master on your leadership journey. Are you aware of your strengths and weaknesses and how they impact your abilities? Being honest and focused with yourself will help you come to grips with areas you are lacking in. Acknowledging these shortcomings is the first step to improving them!
Self-reflection is arguably the jewel in the crown of individual leadership and allows you to calmly contemplate your life, bother personal and professional, productively.
As individual leadership is such an intimate, personal experience, growing and improving it dovetails nicely with working remotely. With so much more time alone, or working independently, it becomes almost imperative to improve your leadership of yourself, and working remotely gives you the opportunity to build a routine conducive to growing individual leadership through self-improvement, self-awareness, and self-reflection.
The start of your journey
To begin your journey towards mastering individual leadership, give yourself the time and space to thoughtfully reflect on your work, life, relationships, desires, and environment. Individual leadership is the engine powering you toward your goals, and reflection is the fuel: without asking yourself questions about what and how you want to be (and why you want to be that), you won’t be able to develop actionable goals.
This is by no means an easy task, and that’s ok! Your future is yours, so you owe it to yourself to envision and manifest something incredible. Working remotely may present opportunities to save money by cutting travel costs and helping you fulfill dreams of becoming a homeowner or paying off your debt. Remote work may also present more chances to learn new skills in valuable software suites like Adobe or Microsoft: ask around for resources or dig into what you have available and add to your repertoire.
Once you are familiar with your goals, write them down and read them frequently. This repetition will increase your commitment and interest levels, and put your individual leadership journey at the center of everything you do.
Actions are louder than words
Armed with your goals and ambitions from your self-reflection, you can now work toward incrementally changing your habits and routines to best align with and achieve your goals. Working remotely presents some otherwise unavailable opportunities, as your schedule is likely more flexible and there is less time spent commuting. Take back your morning routine by filling your commute time with something beneficial and important to you, like reading a book, doing yoga, or just enjoying a quiet cup of coffee.
By writing down and committing to your goals, you are already on your way to improving your individual leadership skills. These goals and commitments show you have the ambition to improve yourself, but as always, actions speak louder than words, and following through on your wants is the true key to unlocking a better .
Individual leadership may be a personal commitment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get help from those close to you! The inward nature of this skill makes it hard to stay positive if things aren’t going well. Including a close friend or confidant in your commitment to individual leadership will help ease the critic in your head and can provide insight or a new perspective you may have missed to help you follow through on your wants. At Siegfried, we call these people angels.
This confidant may also help you stick to your goals and highlight areas that you’re falling short. While that may sound like just another performance review, it’s important to open yourself up to honest feedback from a well-intentioned place. This is your confidant after all, and leaning into what they have to say will improve your awareness and provide further opportunity for productive, calm reflection.
Be kind to yourself
Individual leadership is no easy skill to master. It takes time, dedication, and consistency to grow and change. Be kind and supportive to yourself throughout the process, and your positivity will continue to drive incremental progress. Lean into the journey, make it your own, and see where it takes you!