Here’s my email to leaders in Reno County this past Monday:
Call me a geeky 80’s kid, but I grew up watching the cartoon G.I. Joe. It seemed in every episode, there would be a lesson of some sort and the conclusion would be: “Now you know and knowing is half the battle.” This is certainly true for those of us who step into leadership. One of the KLC’s Leadership Principles is that “IT STARTS WITH YOU…and must engage others.” Leadership begins when we make a conscious choice within ourselves. We know that managing self is an important component but that is just half the battle. Training ourselves to exercise self-control in leadership situations is where the rubber meets the road.
For the past two weeks, I’ve written to you about taking care of yourself and I’ve done this intentionally. I haven’t done it to breed some morbid self-interest, getting you to look in the mirror and say, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all,” expecting us to say we are the fairest. No. I’ve done it because our acts of leadership begin in us. We must manage self. We must exercise some self-control and knowing our strengths, vulnerabilities and triggers, choose among all the competing values to intervene. We step in to act. We want this to be more and more strategic and skillful each and every time we act in leadership. We have to experiment beyond our comfort zone. We have to increase our tolerance for uncertainty and conflict. This is what it means to be a leader.
Today, then, manage self by exercising some good self-control. Assess yourself. And see if managing self doesn’t help you make progress on the issues you care about so deeply.