Knowing your strengths, limits, and how to set limits is critical to successful leadership.
Many of my clients are busy executives who struggle to say “no.” if the phone rings when they’re in the middle of an important task, they find it nearly impossible to let it go to voicemail and call back later.
They are quick to complain about interruptions from team members, but are reluctant to close the door or spend time each day when they can get things done undisturbed. usually that moment of peace is after everyone leaves for the day. they can somehow justify that missing dinner with the family is just what it takes to have a successful corporate career.
poor self-management is not the main problem
The problem here is not poor self-management or personal organization. it is the inability to set firm boundaries and stick to clear priorities. it means they are quick to respond to other people’s demands and too slow to make time for the important activities required to achieve business goals.
I consider that this is not a question of self-management, but of respect for oneself. A healthy level of self-esteem allows you to have the confidence to set firm limits. it means knowing what you stand for and what your values are, and accepting both your strengths and your weaknesses.
Self-respect is an inner quality that each individual must take time to develop. It comes after experiencing setbacks and failures throughout life and knowing how to rebuild.
Juggling the demands of a growing family and busy leadership roles can do strange things for people. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the way to be successful is to try to please everyone. self-respect is more important than always being seen as a really nice person. sometimes it means you have the courage to negotiate and reschedule an important meeting in order to have the freedom to attend your child’s school assembly.
what does ‘self-respect’ look like in practice?
At work, having self-respect means having the inner strength and confidence to turn off the phone, turn off email, and close the door. or ask your staff to watch over you for two hours while you work on an important project without interruption.
helps you schedule and keep appointments with yourself in the middle of a busy day to go for a walk, take a break, or work on your longer-term plans. self-respect is what helps you find a way to focus on what’s important and not just the pressing issues of the day.
means facing your fears of being rejected and not being good enough. those who are successful at some point learn to ignore these fears and act with courage to do the most important things that make their life and business grow strong.
healthy ‘self-respect’ checklist
- you have been clear about what you want to achieve from your business, your career and your life
- you know your strengths and are confident in what you can do well
- you accept your weaknesses and know how to fix them
- you have strong values and live true to them
- makes appointments with himself and keeps them constantly
- you take pride in being well presented
- your “yes” means yes, and your “no” means no
- You expect others to respect you, and they usually do.
If you feel out of control like the department manager referenced at the beginning of this article, then it’s time to work on yourself. nothing will change until you do. business success is always a journey of personal growth. The good news is that developing self-respect is within your reach. a mentor can help you, however, self-respect is the gift you have to give yourself.
john drury is a business mentor, keynote speaker, and author.