Living Leadership – 10 Secrets To Personal Leadership

Leadership is a passion of mine so I thought I would share some musings on leadership with you.

Great leaders are often not labelled great leaders, but rather, they are individuals with a vision and a dedication to the pursuit of excellence.  They influence people around them by living their core values and beliefs which they have consciously considered and intentionally applied across all areas of their life.

To lead other people, we need to first learn to lead ourselves.  To become a great leader one first needs to become a great person.  What I found interesting is that studies show that even the most successful people, when asked about fulfilling their potential always say there is more they can be or do.

One of the great authors on personal leadership is Steven Covey.  He wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which is our reviewed book this month.  Covey’s basic premise is that change starts from within so we need to work from the inside-out to develop our character.  By character he means characteristics such as integrity, courage, justice, patience etc. He defines character as a collection of habits – knowledge, skill and desire.  Knowledge allows us to know what to do, skill is the ability to know how to do it, and desire is the motivation to do it – any of which, if they are missing or under-developed will hinder our personal leadership.  The 7 habits provide a way to develop this character ethic and move from dependence to independence to interdependence.

Go to to download a 7 Habits Inventory that I developed for use in my training programs and with clients.  You will be able to see where your strengths are and where there may be ssome areas for further development.

The 10 key ways to develop personal leadership are:

  • Dream big dreams – take time to day-dream every day – this extends our thinking about what is possible.
  • Set SMART goals and make sure they are written down.
  • Use visualisation to envision the end state so it is very concrete and really feel it
  • Affirm your dreams and goals in present tense.
  • Commit to life-long learning – reading and attending training programs
    • Read biographies on great leaders then imagine you are in their body – what will you see, hear, feel and do as them?
    • Read books on business excellence and take some ideas and apply them in your workplace.
    • Develop knowledge and skills in masterful communication and harnessing teams development.
    • Study innovative thinkers such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Edison, Richard Branson etc and emulate what they did.
    • Learn about well-being, personal development and motivation.
    • Keep a note book with you always and write down ideas as they come to you.  Great leaders take action on their ideas.
    • Keep wellness a priority
      • Get 6-7 hours sleep a night
      • Meditate daily (this really is the key to success!)
      • Ensure you have a nutritious, fresh diet
      • Get regular daily exercise (10- 20 minutes is all you need)
      • Make sure you make time daily to laugh and have some fun!
      • Make mistakes and learn from them.
      • Back yourself.
      • Take action – nobody got anywhere from inaction!  Do 5 things every day towards your goals- that’s 25 things a week and over a year that is significant!

I hope some of these ideas might be useful for you as they have been for me.  As Gandhi said


We must become the change we wish to see in the world.

Posted in On Leadership