I went tramping last weekend to Lake Angelus in the Nelson Lakes National Park (for those who haven’t been there, it is stunning!). Within my family, my usual role when it comes to organising a trip away is limited to packing the food and the kid’s clothes. And boy, have I got those packing skills down!
This time was different though. This time it was just about me – no kids! I had to think about more – safety, route planning, weather, hut tickets, gear, logistics…. and food.
I suddenly became aware of my less-practised skills. The feeling I got is comparable to when your boss throws you a project you haven’t had to manage entirely on your own before, or, when you have been appointed the leader of a group, and you need to orientate yourself (and them). I was apprehensive about my skills and my ability to get this right. My heart beat a bit faster, and my mind turned over a bit quicker. Breath. In and out. Relax. You can do this!
Andrew Bryant is a self-leadership expert and motivational speaker. He states self-awareness as ‘stepping back’ from a situation in order to take in the bigger picture. To be self-aware, he suggests asking the questions “Why am I doing this?”, “What causes me to see it this way?” and “How can I think and feel differently to get different results?” The answers will give you an understanding of your inner world and the external situation. Without self-awareness, you can act on auto-pilot and ‘react’ to situations rather than influencing them. To achieve different results, we all know we can’t keep doing the same old thing.
So what did I need to change to feel more confident in getting up that mountain? What were my perceptions of myself? Great questions to ask.
Being a great leader
Bill George, a Harvard Business School Professor and former Medtronic CEO found that when researching for his book “True North”, more than 1,000 studies had failed to identify the definitive traits of successful leaders. This is because true and effective leadership doesn’t come from trying to emulate pre-defined characteristics. It comes from knowing yourself – your strengths and weaknesses and your own life story (experiences).
Everyone can be a great leader. It doesn’t matter your position in your company. If you are interacting directly with customers then you are impacting how the business runs. It’s an individual’s pro-active behaviour in dealing with customers that is the key to business success. Independent problem-solving skills are essential in the workplace. We often think we need to train managers, but it is so important to equip all employees with leadership skills.
Good news! I didn’t have to be someone else to pull this off. I just had to know how to equip myself to get up the mountain and safely back home again. Developing my own problem-solving skills would be essential.
I knew that both my skills and my mindset would influence the outcome of my tramp and that this is fundamentally what self-leadership is all about. It begins inside of you before having an outward effect on those around you.
I like Andrew Bryants model to depict this. SELF-awareness, SELF-confidence and SELF-efficacy create your INTENTION. This then INFLUENCES and IMPACTS others. The model suggests that before leading others, you must first lead yourself. I know I couldn’t lead a team up a mountain if I didn’t have the experience, skills and confidence to get myself up there first!
I am happy to say that I had a successful trip. Stepping out of my comfort zone and into a self-leadership role helped me get up there and back (with no need to use the Emergency Locator Beacon!) I had enough food (although the chocolate disappeared pretty quickly) and I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure. I’m now confident to suggest that if you need a Tramping Expedition Leader, I’m your girl.
Written by Chantell Bramley