By Stacey Ashley

What exactly is leadership… and more importantly, how do you become a good leader, in an ever more complex and faster moving world, with exponential information growth, globalization and permeating technology?

When I think about leadership, I focus on three core dimensions: Your Self; Your Tribe and; Your World. I call this Leadership in Three Dimensions™.

For me, the dimension of Self is a priority.

Why Self first?

Think about it, how can I expect others to follow if I cannot manage to lead myself? If I don’t place priority on my own development, take responsibility for my actions, behaviours, thoughts, how can I expect the people around me to?

If I don’t choose to lead myself first, where is my authenticity, my integrity of leadership? How can I go on to inspire others, influence and have impact?

These are important questions to reflect on as a leader.

So how do you go about leading yourself first? To First Lead Yourself™ you need to:

  1. Face Up – To yourself! Hold the mirror up and have a good look at what you see, feel and think.
  2. Show Up – As the best version of yourself. Always choose to bring your best self, and all of your resources, strengths, skills and experiences to any situation.
  3. Step Up – Continue your personal growth and development, stretch yourself to ‘be’ a better version of you.

One of the most difficult elements of Self Leadership is to ‘Face Up’ to ourselves. This can be challenging as we may not have the skills to observe and understand our own thoughts and behaviors.

Historically, IQ was the measure of potential performance and success in the workplace. However, in more recent times, EQ has been identified as a potentially more important factor in leadership success. In addition, I believe that the Awareness Quotient (AQ) is also a key factor as this represents the foundation of our understanding and experience not just with leadership, but with our entire life.

Your level of AQ will impact your ability to ‘hold the mirror up’ and see what’s there. How developed is your personal Awareness Quotient? Is it non-existent, a little developed, developed or well developed?

Imagine how much more in tune with yourself you would be if you focused on developing your awareness quotient? Imagine how differently you could show up and new opportunities you could create for yourself if you were tuning into what you are doing, being, thinking, feeling at any one time?

When you learn to tune into your own self, you gain a wealth of information for you to make further choices and decisions with. You get to choose what’s working for you and as a leader, and choose to keep it. On the other hand, you also get to choose what isn’t working for you and make the choice to change it.

Here are a few ways to raise your Awareness Quotient:

  1. Observe yourself in action – tune into your thoughts, words and actions and their impact on yourself and other people.
  2. Practice Mindfulness – be present in your body while observing what is happening during activities.
  3. Practice Meditation – This will assist you in raising your awareness of self.
  4. Clarify your purpose and think, speak and act “on purpose” (it may take some time to become clear on your purpose- that’s ok!)
  5. Write down what you notice is happening, what do you feel? What is your self-talk like?

Stacey Ashley is the creator of The Coaching Leader™ and First Lead Yourself™ programs, and author of Amazon best seller ‘The New Leader’. For more information, please see


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.