What Skills are Important for Self-Leadership?

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You've heard the saying "lead by example," but have you stopped to ask if the example you're setting is good or bad? Are you an influential contributor who should be modeled by others in your organization? Do you have a solid foundation to build on and a polished set of skills to teach others on your team? The first step in becoming a great leader is to learn how to lead yourself. Master these seven skills, and you'll be on your way.

Learn How to Learn

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An ability to teach yourself new skills and acquire knowledge efficiently is a key to survival in the modern workplace. How can you spend less time studying? How can you pick the most valuable topics at the right time?

Problem Solving

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Ask any professional about the essential skills they want in teammates, and problem-solving will be near the top of the list. As you move up the leadership ranks, the problems will change, but the need to be a great problem solver will only intensify. How can you become a better problem solver?

Decision Making

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In a professional setting, we make more decisions than we realize, and often we do it with incomplete information using a mix of analytical skills and intuition. The price of bad decisions can be cost increases, poor customer experiences, project delays, or outright project failure. Do you know how to make good decisions?

Playing Well with Others

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Let's be honest, as functional experts trying to stand out from the crowd, our people skills can sometimes trail our technical skills. But in life, we solve problems for people, we work with people, and if we want to lead, we will lead people. How are your people skills? Would people describe you as a team player, a good communicator, or a good negotiator?

Information Management

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Information overload is real. We are bombarded with things to do, things to ask someone about, things to remember, and it comes at us from multiple sources. How do you handle incoming information and keep important things from falling through the cracks? How do you choose what is essential and what is optional?

Time Management

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If we were all great at managing our time, you'd rarely hear about poor work/life balance, burnout, or projects shipping late. The reality is the world will put unrealistic demands on your time. You will put unrealistic demands on your time. It's your job to learn to thrive in that world. How would your life change if you manage your time better?

Habits and Routines

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Everyone knows bad habits can be harmful, but the same psychological muscles behind bad habits can be used for good habits. What would happen if you established good practices like starting your day reviewing your to-do list instead of social media? Or what if you made a few notes when you wrap up a day so you can more easily pick up where you left the next day?

Thought Questions

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  • How would you rate your current knowledge and ability for these seven skills?
  • If you could only improve one skill in the next month, which one would it be?
  • What steps will you take this week to begin improving in self-leadership?
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