To Lead Others You Must First Lead Yourself

To lead others you must first lead yourself.

To lead others you must first lead yourself.

The hardest person to lead is not the worker who is constantly late or can never seem to follow through.  The hardest worker to lead is not the one who is emotionally unstable.  The hardest worker is not those who seem to always criticize or even the ones who never seem to “get it.”  The hardest person to lead is yourself.

Alexander the great had a severe problem with patience.  One time he was noted for striking one of his own men.  With great disappointment in himself he said “I can rule over countries, but I cannot rule myself”  Those words ring true for every leader in every organization, we can rule over budgets, vision and projects but we cannot rule ourselves.  We can get things under control, but at times we cannot get ourselves under control.

So how do we get ourselves under control?  How do we learn to lead ourselves so that we can effectively lead others.  It takes a commitment on your behalf.  It takes your dedication and pledge to be faithful to the following rules:

Rule #1 – Lead yourself through learning
Become a learner.  Be dedicated to learning. Model learning to those around you.  You cannot truly lead yourself if you are not learning.  Avoid the foolish mistakes of thinking you have nothing to learn.  Read books, attend seminars, visit great places, secure a mentor, have an accountability partner…do whatever it takes, but practice the discipline of continued learning.

Rule #2 – Lead yourself through integrity
A leader must have integrity.  I am speaking of both your public and private life.  Often we make the mistake of “compartmentalizing” our integrity.  We think as long as we have integrity in one area of our life it will be alright if we do not have it in another.  This is a giant mistake.  Integrity must be found across the board in your life.  Be honest, live right, keep your word… be a person of complete integrity.

Rule #3 – Lead yourself through discipline
We are a society that drastically lacks discipline.  The discipline of exercise, eating right, maintaining good habits and ceasing the bad habits.  We can discipline others when they are out of line, but we fail in disciplining our own lives when we are out of line.  Model great leadership by modeling discipline.

Rule #4 – Lead yourself through maintaining a healthy self-image
I am amazed how many people struggle with insecurity.  I meet people every week in high positions of leadership that continue to struggle with their self-image.  It is difficult to operate in leadership with insecurity and often even more difficult to follow someone who is insecure.  Lead yourself by regaining a healthy self image.  Not overly confident, but not insecure either.  Find the balance, because leading from an insecure platform is not a healthy place to lead from.

Until next time,

Chris Sonksen


Persistence is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely and the likely definite.” Robert Half

Chris Sonksen is a celebrated Motivational Speaker and Published Author; the Lead Pastor at one of America’s fastest growing churches (South Hills Church in Corona California); and the founding member of Celera Church Strategy Group. Celera offers pastor support, teaching, training and mentoring programs that equip pastors who want to learn how to grow church attendance through evangelism using proven church growth techniques.


About Chris Sonksen

Chris Sonksen is the founder and Lead Pastor of South Hills Church and has an exceptional ability to inspire both secular and non-secular audiences. Under his leadership, South Hills has experienced phenomenal growth and in just a few short years has grown from a handful of people to nearly 3000 in attendance today. Today South Hills has become a thriving, multi-service and multi-site church. Chris has a magnetic, captivating and humorous style for motivating and inspiring all audiences. As a motivational speaker, he has spoken both nationally and internationally in companies such as Verizon, Securitas and Home Depot, and there is no doubt that by applying his teachings, his audience will improve the quality of their lives! Chris is the author of two books In Search of Higher Ground and Handshake. Chris is the founder of Celera Church Strategy Group an organization with an unwavering commitment to excellence in all things, with the goal to “raise the national average of church attendance,” by equipping church leaders with resources and coaching. Chris brings high-energy focus and a passion for vision and leadership to encourage and equip the local Church. Chris is a native Californian, born in Long Beach and currently resides in Corona with his wife, Laura and their two children, Grace and Aidan.

Posted on May 27, 2009, in Leadership, Personal Growth and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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