Leadership Starts With You

Before you can lead others—effectively—you must start by leading yourself. Self-leadership qualifies you to lead others. True leadership is born when a leader, driven by a passion, pursues his or her vision intently and in doing so, inspires others to join him or her in this great journey. However, to materialize his or her vision, that leader needs strict personal discipline: he or she must be self-disciplined. That’s another way to say that he or she must lead themselves.

Without the quality of self-discipline, leaders won’t be effective in leading others. Without a minimum of self-leadership, the leader is unfit to lead others. Self-leadership ensures that the leader reaches his or her destination and in the process lead his or her follower into the “promised land.” And together they share in the manifestation of the vision.

There are many ways a leader demonstrates self-leadership. However, the primary ways are through your thoughts and actions.


Leaders must take control of what goes on in their minds. They must discipline their thought life. The pressures of leadership are such that without the right mindset attitude, leaders don’t have the mental fortitude it takes to handle the issues inherent to dealing people toward a vision.

If you aspire to become an effective leader, you must discipline your thought life. It includes your self-image (your thoughts about yourself), self-talk (the way you speak to yourself), and your view of others and the world. In other words, self-leadership requires that you master your mindset (i.e., it demands that you cultivate a mindset that empowers you, not hinders you).


Leaders must regulate their actions. They must govern themselves. They aren’t tossed to and fro by the whims of life. They take control of their time and other resources and ensure these serve their vision.

Ultimately, your actions demonstrate your level of self-discipline. Self-leadership demand that you overcome procrastination and take action on your goals. It requires that you persevere even against fierce opposition and insurmountable obstacles. Can you continue to take action when it’s not convenient? Can you continue to do what’s right even when it’s uncomfortable? Can you do what you must even when you don’t feel like it?

As a leader, you must ensure that you operate with the utmost self-discipline. The discipline you acquire in private prepares you for effective leadership in public. Lead yourself first, then others. Leadership starts with you.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.