Lead Yourself Before You Lead Others

The other day, I was catching up on some podcasts from Michael Hyatt.

leadership training

If you aren’t listening to/reading his site, you are doing yourself a disservice.  His wisdom is incredible.

At any rate, the particular podcast I was listening to was titled “5 Reasons to Speak Well of Your Spouse in Public“.  There was so much gold in there, it’s impossible to capture, but I did have some takeaways I feel led to share.

One of the things Michael said was this:

If you can’t lead yourself, you have no business leading other people.

You could read that a couple of different ways, I suppose, but what I took from it was if you can’t handle your own stuff, you are not qualified to tell others how to handle theirs.

Case in point (and an entirely true story):

When I was new to patrol, my then girlfriend/now wife, Katie, came to visit me at the police department.  While there, I introduced her to my sergeant.  He was a veteran officer of quite a few years and my direct supervisor.  He was polite and courteous to Katie, but when she left he gave me some “advice”:

Listen, you’re in patrol now.  You’re in uniform.  You’re a good-looking guy.  You probably don’t want your girlfriend around your other girlfriends in town.

Now, before you want to hang this dude from the yardarm, the only defense I will offer on his behalf is this: he was trying to lead.

Was it quality leadership?  No.  Was it useful leadership? No.  Did it make me respect him more?  You’re adorable.

I could say things like he was “old school” and offer any number of platitudes to attempt to excuse his terrible advice, but the fact of the matter is this: He’d been through multiple marriages.leadership training

He couldn’t lead himself.  Why in the name of all that is holy would I listen to him?  I worked for him/with him for quite some time and grew to like his sense of humor and the camaraderie that comes with being a cop.

But you know what?  I didn’t follow his lead when it came to personal relationships.  Because he had no basis from which to lead.

As a husband and a dad, it is incumbent upon me to lead myself before I can responsibly lead my family.

The other takeaway I got from the podcast was this statement by Michael:

Every action you take is either growing you closer or growing you apart.

You can choose to look at that fatalistically and agonize over every decision or you can see in it an opportunity to continually improve.  If you choose to take the opportunity to move forward and grow closer to your financial goals by leading yourself first, you set an example by which your family and friends will begin to notice and ask you about.

And that’s when true leadership starts.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.nomorehamsterwheel.com/ Camilla

    I just recently started listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast and they are full of great information, not just for leaders. I agree, we have to be careful on who we add to our list of leaders that we look up to and that we let inspire us, or they could easily lead us astray. Great post!