When it comes to leadership, one could think that leading others is relatively easy if you intentionally work on growing your leadership skills. These are the areas to concentrate.

Emphasis on others.

Take me for example.  I have been studying leadership and personal growth for over a decade.  I know what it takes to be a great leader.  I have the greatest coaches pouring their wisdom on me on a weekly basis.

But yet, there are times that all the distractions (and demands) in my environment pull and push in overwhelming ways.

In those times, I find myself not “practicing what I preach”.

It makes me feel awful.  Like a someone just gave me low blow.  Even thinking about it as I write this drains my energy.

This happened to me as early as last Monday when I received a text from my cousin, whom I have been coaching and mentoring for years now.  His name is Ignacio Ramos and I am proud to say he will earn his college degree in Electrical Engineering this June.

Ignacio writes: “Jose, how are you?.  I am starting to read the second book you gave me last month!  What are you up to these days?  I HAVEN’T SEEN ANY OF YOUR POSTS THIS MONTH.  Please keep them coming!”

Ouch!  As I read his text, I immediately felt like I let him down.  Here is a person that values my blog posts and I did not deliver.  Definitely not my highest hour…  Let me correct that…

Definitely not my best month.

So, Mr. Ignacio, if you are reading this, I apologize for not posting a blog this month until today.  I thank you for keeping me honest – and please continue to do so.

The fact of the matter is that leading yourself is the hardest leadership you will ever experience.

This is true for many reasons.

One of them could be that you are your worst critic.

I don’t think this is a bad thing, its just hard.

Actually, I could argue that it is a necessity in order to be the best leader you can be.

You raise the bar on yourself and hold yourself accountable.

You may be thinking that it sounds simple, but I can attest that it is not!

Lets break that statement in two.

Raising the bar on yourself comes with a leader’s growth.  It is part of increasing your ability as a leader.

But…

If you lack the second part of the statement “… and hold yourself accountable” … then you will start going downhill very fast.

You see…. Accountability holds everything in place.

The people you lead and influence are going to hold you accountable.  Plain and simple.

To effectively lead others you have a responsibility to yourself to hold yourself accountable.

You have to do what you say you are going do.  Again, another statement that sounds simple… but yet even the most successful leaders are susceptible to failing at this.

When this happens… well, its quite embarrassing.

The truth of the matter is that you cannot lead others if you cannot lead yourself.

You are not a leader if you are not accountable.

That may sound harsh, but its the truth.  A very transparent truth.

On a positive note, there are many ways to develop (or fix) personal accountability.. so I will leave you with one…

As a leader, be open to be “inspected”.  

When you feel that is hard to keep your end of the bargain, invite people to help you.  Give them permission to evaluate your behavior and actions.  Embrace their feedback and let them keep you walking the right path.

They will respect you more for it.

Let this be an invitation for you to keep me accountable.

You can count on me and I can count on you.

Remember, leading yourself is a crucial element of who you are as a leader.  Do it well and you will reap the benefits.  If you don’t, you will lose.

To your success,

Jose

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