The Simple Reason to Learn to Lead Yourself First

Inc. readers love leading. We love learning to lead better.

Usually that means learning to lead others. Leading others sounds sexier.

In my leadership courses and workshops, nearly everyone prefers the exercises that lead others over ones to build self-awareness and self-leadership.

I recommend learning to lead yourself first. Here’s why.

Learn to lead yourself first

To see what happens if you learn to lead others first, imagine learning a foreign language.

Say it’s Italian. With dedication and practice, you learn the language. The natural next step is to spend time with Italians, eat the cuisine, visit the country, learn their history, and so on.

Now say you learn that you prefer Chinese cuisine, history, philosophy, and so on.

After learning Italian is a lousy time to realize you’ve invested years in learning skills that will take you away from your interests.

Learning to lead yourself reveals your interests and values. It gives you direction. It keeps you from leading people where you don’t want to go.

Better to find out you love Chinese before learning Italian. No matter how good you are at Italian, it will always feel like work. Doing what you love will feel less like work all the time.

Learning to lead others is enticing and alluring. We feel powerful. More followers enables us to do more.

Without direction and purpose, power and action are as likely to lead us astray as where we want to go.


IDG Contributor Network: 3 steps CIOs can take to lead more strategically in 2017

It’s time to rethink the CIO title. Are you responsible for keeping the trains running on time and the lights on, or are you providing the thought leadership and guidance within your own organization to maximize value and business agility?

Most C-level executives run the risk of doing the perp walk in handcuffs out of the office and ultimately wearing an orange jumpsuit if their subordinates break the rules or screw up – and while you serve a valuable function, this is not true for the CIO. 2017 needs to be the year where you go from “serving” to “leading.”

To earn your keep, you need to show both value and accountability at a minimum. A-grade CIOs identify opportunities to drive business growth – and A+ ones do it with fewer resources, not more.

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CIO Cloud Computing

‘Featuritis’ could lead you to the wrong cloud

Winning Evernote’s cloud business was a nice feather in Google’s cap — deservedly so. Google had put a great deal of effort in its machine learning offering in the Google cloud, and Evernote responded. I’m sure there were financial incentives as well.

The question then arises: Will enterprises buy cloud services — or even partner with cloud providers — around tactical features that they believe are important? Or will features trump market share?

Enterprise IT is tactically focused in many respects. While some IT departments will select cloud providers with the most customers and the most datacenters, others will look at specific features that a cloud provider may do well, such as machine learning.

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InfoWorld Cloud Computing