Monday, 13 February 2017


Self-leadership is a very interesting concept.

Self-leadership is the maximising the potential of each of us, and of combining our individual strengths to operate as a fully-functioning team, at our full potential.

The idea is that there are no individual excuses for weaknesses or frailties. This idea comes from sport where it is the responsibility of every player to be operating consistently at their maximum possible potential: as players, as athletes; and now as people and as leaders - at training, on the field and in society.

In some ways, you can say that there are no true 'team' sports at professional level left in the world: each team is packed full of individuals who are working at full strength. In elite professional sport, the emphasis is on finding and exploiting every possible advantage, football, AFL, cricket, basketball, rugby, American football, baseball… all have become individual sports wrapped in a team environment. 

How many times have we seen a club’s leadership team in trouble? A quick scout of sports news online will provide plenty of examples. We might ask how someone can lead a team if they can’t lead themselves.It is critical for all participants to lead themselves (on- and off-field) to the best of their abilities and to try to reach the limits of their potential.

The challenge is how to best embrace self-leadership to enhance individual leadership abilities whilst fitting it into a team environment and - most importantly - ensuring that it makes a measurable impact on performance.

This idea has crossed over into general management as it works well in this era of individualisation, customisation and empowerment. By enabling all participants to lead themselves, there can be no excuses, but also limitless potential: providing the environmental factors are supportive.

You build self-reliance, self-correction and entrepreneurship into organisations this way.

Self-leadership: be the best Me, then the We is stronger.


  • Neck, Christopher P. & Houghton, Jeffery D. (2006). Two decades of self-leadership theory and research: Past developments, present trends, and future possibilities. Journal of Managerial Psychology, Volume 21, Issue 4 (pp. 270-295).
  • Sudmann, Lars (10 Jun 2016). TEDx UCLouvain: Great leadership starts with self-leadership. Retrieved 4 January 2016 from 
  • Young, Sam (2011). Leadership MGT630 Topic 1 Introduction to Leadership Part 8, Self leadership. Retrieved 4 January 2016 at 

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