What is self-leadership and why is it important?

Often December can be a month of frenetic activity both at home and at work. This year may well bring different challenges, yet there is also an opportunity to reflect and to celebrate what we have personally achieved. This brings me on to the topic for this month’s blog – self-leadership. At the end of the year it can be useful to give yourself some space to reflect on the year by using the concept of self-leadership. 

What is self-leadership?

The Leaders role is to build their teams for success which involves spending time at an individual level developing and supporting each person to bring their best to the workplace. Before we can operate effectively leading others, we need to be able to lead ourselves. 

Self-leadership is an ongoing process of taking care of ourselves through increased self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Through regular coaching time, we create the space needed to accelerate our effectiveness by focusing on self-leadership. 

It is a way to continually refresh and review our approach to our overall lives, not just at work. People who work on this topic find that they have noticeable changes in their home lives too.  

Benefits of increasing our self-leadership

  • Things do not build up. From conversations that are needed to health niggles, we nip things in the bud before they become too much of an issue. 
  • We become more self-reliant. Instead of waiting for our manager to support us, for example, we get on and support ourselves in a positive and independent way.
  • We create space for the most important aspects of our lives, therefore creating a positive work/ life balance.
  • We transfer skills that we use in one situation and apply these to new situations, making change easier for ourselves.
  • We create honesty with ourselves and others. 
  • We can more easily anticipate how others may react, increasing our ability to influence them.

Components of self-leadership

In coaching sessions, I notice people working on a variety of aspects of self-leadership, which include:

Reviewing our health

Taking the time to ensure any health niggles are addressed and resolved. From headaches to aches and pains, we can often put these things off, now is the time to address these. In coaching sessions, it may be the first time you have told someone that something is bothering you. We then work towards addressing it rather than burying it. 

Choosing our approach to relationships 

From time to time it can be useful to focus on our key relationships both at work and in our personal lives, ensuring we are devoting sufficient time and energy to these. Sometimes certain relationships are no longer giving us what we need or what they need. From a work group to home groups we sometimes take the opportunity to leave certain friendships or groups and that is okay. It can free us up to devote time to the relationships that matter most at any given moment of our lives.

Building trust

Trust is a fundamental part of any relationship and takes time to nurture and grow. Building the space and activities to build trust is key. 

Maintaining self-awareness 

In coaching sessions, we ensure you are noticing and reflecting on the month or weeks and adjusting your approach. This builds that crucial self-awareness so you can address challenges in the most effective way. It also helps you notice blind spots that can be difficult to see alone.

The change journey 

Rather than change taking us over, we can pro-actively manage the changes that are going on for us. Some are enforced changes, such as the current Covid situation, other changes are ones we pro-actively want to make happen, for example a promotion. Either way we can focus on these and adapt our approach consciously. 

Career visioning – Reviewing satisfaction levels with our work 

What work brings you energy? Are you going in the direction you want to career wise? Carrying out a review of your career and where you are heading is useful so that at the end of each year we set a vision for the coming year. 

Increasing our emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is like a muscle that needs working, it ensures we put ourselves in other’s shoes and adapt our style and approach to our audience. Think through recent situations where you have communicated and consider did your message resonate with the audience? What could you have done differently to meet the audience where they were at?

Work-Life balance

What does the most optimum work life balance look like to you? One size does not fit all, so being really clear on what balance brings you the most energy is key. 


All too often we make huge strides forward and progress, and yet we just move on to the next objective or task. During December, I encourage you to reflect on the year and consider all the achievements, big and small, that you have accomplished. And then celebrate. In a way that works for you. Celebration is often forgotten and is such an important part of life.

In coaching sessions, I notice clients enhance many aspects of self-leadership and in doing so are even more fulfilled, effective, and successful at work and in their personal lives. If you would like to experience the benefits of coaching or have any questions for me, please get in touch to arrange a no obligation initial consultation


  1. Hazel Tan on December 3, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Oh if only I had read this ahead of a coaching conversation today! Thanks Jackie. Great summary with questions to help reflection and also to take practical steps.

    • Jackie Haywood on December 3, 2020 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks Hazel!

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