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Self Leadership: Vision and Positive Mindset for Organisational Influence

Self-Leadership may be used in a variety of settings… an interesting article I came across “two proven tricks for focusing and increasing your performance” seeks to uncover some of the benefits (Barker, 2012). The article discusses self-talk and mental imagery with regards to self-leadership as an applied motivating catalyst in the workplace. The relationship between managers and individuals is discussed concerning the self-leadership theory and organizational performance. The correlation being that positive self-talk influences yourself and those around you. Regarding various literature on self-leadership, the article articulates various means for which individuals may use positive self-talk and imagery in boosting performance in the sports arena. Further, the article discusses the implications that these techniques may have in the workplace, such as a manager visualizing a successful project, before delivering an initial brief for said project.

Self-leadership has been a noted motivation theory by the likes of Peter Drucker, Tony Robbins, and even MMA Athlete Connor McGregor. With academics and practitioners alike, self-leadership is as an effective means for individuals to coach their way through a problem, to improve themselves, and influence those around them. McShane, et al. (2016) describe self-leadership as influencing oneself, which provides a sense of direction and motivation necessary to achieve an objective. However, self-leadership may also depend on the level of self-awareness an individual encompasses in their journey to self-improvement. Where sports athletes harness positive self-talk, and visionary means, to perform better in their arena (Barker, 2012). Self-leadership goes much deeper than simply one-event performances. Whereby, the text describes personal goal setting as only one of the first steps to overall influence. Perhaps the precursor to self-leadership is the desired output by the individual and the accountability with which they hold them self. 

Self-leadership may go beneath the levels of single performance, where continuous improvement and self-evaluation would prove more efficient over the longer term. The article states that consistent visualization of performing a task, performing it well, provides the imagery component to self-leadership (Barker, 2012). One suggestion may be that over long periods of time, with consistent practice, that positive self-talk and reinforcement through imagery, an athlete or professional will inevitably influence both themselves and those around them. A caution to self-leadership may be that it could be used both constructively and destructively, depending on the individual’s internal locus.

Self-leadership may be used in many ways in the workplace. Firstly, it could be used loosely as a suggestive mechanism for people at the lower to middle management levels as a self-development tool. Secondly, middle to senior management may use self-leadership as a defined and disciplined process, once they have gained sufficient confidence and practice. Thirdly, self-leadership may be utilized by anyone in any position, regardless of their position in the workplace. In the form of positive self-talk and visionary future thinking, individuals can hold themselves accountable to goals that they set, in a confidential and personal manner. Self-leadership fostered as an organic approach to leading self, as opposed to more formal methods of professional development would be beneficial. Simply stated, self-leadership is a very in depth and intimate form of improving oneself. If self-leadership were introduced as a formal method, it might diminish the overall goal, becoming more of a ‘box ticking exercise.' Therefore, for self-leadership to become a more widely used concept in the workplace, it should be proposed as one of many ways to improve, with the benefits illustrated through various successful examples including sports athletes and professionals.


Barker, E. (2012). Business Insider Australia. Two proven tricks for focusing and increasing your performance. Retrieved from:

McShane, S., Olekalns, M., Newman, A., & Travaglione, T. (2016). Organizational Behavior: Emerging Knowledge, global insights. (5th ed). North Ryde, N.SW: McGraw-Hill

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