Stan was a customer service associate at a big box retail store. Although Stan had the highest sales out of all the associates, his managers considered him the laziest. Stan took twice as long to complete stocking new merchandise, and often misplaced items. Stan tried to get out of cleaning the restrooms as much as possible, even though the other associates cleaned them without complaint. While other associates were busy straightening out shelves at the end of the night, his managers caught him several times texting, even though mobile devices were not allowed on the floor. Stan’s fellow associates had very little respect for him. As such, he was often turned down for promotions.
Stan, of course, tried to sell the idea of promoting him to his manager by speaking to his experience in his previous jobs and his sales record. Stan was under the delusion that if he got a promotion, that his fellow employees would all of a sudden magically respect him. How can Stan expect his fellow associates to respect their quality of work if Stan doesn’t respect his own quality of work?
What Stan failed to realize was that leadership is not just about managing other people. Most good leaders also have good self-leadership qualities. They are proactive, they are self-directing, they care about the details, and they are productive. Good leaders lead by being an exemplary example of the type employee one should be. This is the essence of self-leadership.