Are You Self-Leadable?

It’s been said many times, in many places by many people:
“You can’t expect to lead anyone else unless you can lead yourself!”

Yet, I find in my executive and leadership coaching that too many leaders are still struggling with this concept.

They fight with themselves and with others they are trying to lead with a “do as I say, not as I do” approach to leadership. And, surprisingly, they are surprised to find themselves frustrated over the lack of commitment of their employees, team members or committee workers.

It’s time for a change.

Another old adage is “curiosity killed the cat.”

Well, I like to say “Incongruity kills the leader!”

If you lead an organization, a team, a not-for-profit board of directors, a school or church committee, or even a family of two, you must be self-leadable*!

The term “self-leadable” came to me from an idea by Scott Ginsberg, who just wrote a book called “-able” (pronounced a-bull).

How can you expect others to feel confident in following you if you fail to show up in a way that inspires others to show up in a positive, powerful way?

One client with whom I recently finished working had a terrible reputation for raising his voice and chastising his people in public anytime he became frustrated with a lack of performance by a member of his team. Yet, he was also frustrated with the fact that some of his employees were yelling and cursing at each other on the job in public places where customers, clients and subcontractors could see and hear.

Another client from many years ago came to me frustrated with the productivity and teamwork of his office staff. Yet, invested little time around the office to mentor, coach and monitor his employees in the desired behaviors he was hoping would manifest organically with no direction. In this instance, he showed little interest and expressed so little value in his people that his people showed little interest and value in the company or each other.

And, yet a third former client was frustrated with the lack of respect and commitment his employees showed to himself and his company. He couldn’t understand it because they had created a strong list of company values that the team would recite and discuss together each week.

On my first day consulting with this firm I sat back and observed this team meeting. Not 2-minutes after this values recitation process the company owner replied to two of his employees in two separate incidents in a sarcastic manner with inappropriate tone.

As Gandi said “We must become the change we want to see.”

This means a person, a leader, must be “self-leadable” first! Are you?

How can you be “self-leadable?” Here are just four steps:

1) Commit to showing up with a higher standard:
In what areas are your words and actions inconsistent and incongruent? In what ways are you not walking your talk? In what ways are you expecting things of others you are not willing to do yourself? If you don’t know, become extremely humble and with humility ask some people around you that you trust.

2) Decide what that higher standard be:
Be specific as to what it would look like, sound like, feel like, talk like, walk like, believe like, expect like, etc.

3) Write it down in detail:
How would you speak, how would you walk, how would you feel inside, what would you have to believe to become this person.

4) Begin practicing one of those areas each day:
Focus on improving 1% each day and in 70 days you will be twice as good (thanks to one of my mentors Alan Weiss, the Million Dollar Consultant, for his “1% Solution.”)

I guarantee that if you apply the four steps above people will begin to notice.

If you’d like to get a sample of a standard I espouse and work with my executive/leadership clients to integrate into their approach and into their organizations, you can read my article on “The 5 Traits of a CHAMP Leader” at this link .

If you like the idea of being “self-leadable,” you will probably want to read other “-able” strategies, which is a recently published book by Scott Ginsberg. You can learn more about it here .

You can read more of Scott’s innovative ideas for being a more effective in your business at

’til next time, make it a great week!