Who is the person that talk to you the most? Take a minute and think about it.
It’s not your partner, nor your boss. The person who most talk to you is you. That inner dialogue conditions and shapes your views about yourself and could actually diminish your potential, skills and capabilities. That’s why it’s worth talking about the importance of self-love and its impact on how you develop your leadership.
How do you speak to yourself?
Maybe you speak kindly, compassionate, recognizing your efforts or praising yourself; maybe you speak hard, high lightening your weaknesses, in a harsh way. What is it?
The way you speak to yourself matters. The world is shaped by your words, so your expectations are.
Being your worst critic can lead you into some undesirable behaviours and put an extreme amount of pressure over your shoulders, always looking for what you could have done better.
This is tiring, and also has some effects on those around you: how success looks like, what your expectations are, how you value others’ contributions, how you consider failure… Don’t get me wrong, it is not about having low standards; it is about the way to get things done. The how actually matters as much as the result.
From the very beginning, the most of us have been educated in considering our value depending on what we achieve instead of what we are. Therefore, in some extent, we push ourselves to be valued for our achievements no matter how bad we treat us to get things done.
Moreover, you could have caught yourself thinking: if I can make the effort, why shouldn’t you (my team) make it?
And, of course, you can lead like that. No doubt, there is a better way to do it.
It’s actually time to change the paradigm and acknowledge the importance self-love as a way to be better leaders and happier people.
You may think self-love is the same as narcissism or selfishness, but those are opposites indeed. Narcissists gain their sense of self-worth from external recognition: fame, wealth or power. They need to feel superior, and thus they cannot afford failure. Many times, narcissism goes hand in hand with selfishness because they tend to benefit themselves (to gain that recognition) at the expense of others.
Self-love implies you know yourself; so, you know about your lows and highs, your whites and blacks, and yet you have a deep sense of respect, trust and commitment to who you are. And, knowing your flaws, you can improve without questioning your worth.
From this place, you can afford failure (yours and others) and be wrong; you can give credit and recognition, and you can learn.
A leader can’t develop others’ talent, care for people or build trust if she is insecure about herself.
Authenticity is the way to a good leadership
How can a leader be authentic if she doesn’t love herself? She can’t.
Think about someone you consider a true leader. Someone you’d follow anywhere; someone who always has a positive impact on you. What qualities or attributes does she have?
You probably could name vulnerability, vocation of service, emotional intelligence or empathy. Probably, it’s not only a matter of intelligence, abilities or knowledge.
Do you want to become that? For a person to develop those qualities, a good amount of self-love is needed. The more, the better.