AMHERST, Mass. - Managers who want to lead others effectively must first lead the one in the mirror: they need to learn self-leadership, says Charles C. Manz of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts. Manz is co-author of a new book titled "Mastering Self-Leadership: Empowering Yourself for Personal Excellence."
The book, by Manz and Christopher P. Neck, assistant professor of management at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, says self-leadership is the art of consistently bringing out the best in ourselves and enjoying life. Key underlying concepts outlined in the book include learning self-discipline, using enjoyable and naturally rewarding activities to improve personal performance, and changing thought patterns to replace destructive beliefs and assumptions with constructive ones. In addition, the authors provide practical tools and benchmarks for initiating and assessing the changes in personal behavior and habits that are needed to achieve success.
Manz says self-leadership is influenced by both thinking patterns and physical habits. The book contains a series of checklists, attitudinal surveys, and suggestions for recording and reviewing individual beliefs and activities as they relate to self-leadership. It also suggests using self-set goals, self-rewards, and physical cues as a positive reminder of important tasks that need to be done.
When applied to organizations, the inner self-leadership approach prompts managers to give workers more control over the tasks they perform, thus creating more motivated, positively oriented employees, Manz says. Self-leadership can also work in the current team approach being used in many large companies, he says, because self-confident team members strengthen the creativity and productivity of the whole group. "Regardless of the management system, you have to learn to manage yourself first," Manz says. "This idea is a fairly comprehensive nucleus for thinking about the entire concept of leadership."
Manz holds a permanent appointment as the first Nirenberg Professor of Business Leadership at the UMass Isenberg School of Management. He is the author of numerous journal articles and several books. His books include "The Leadership Wisdom of Jesus," "For Team Members Only," "Business Without Bosses," and "SuperLeadership," which won the Stybel Peabody Prize for the best publication of the year in 1990. Manz joined the UMass faculty in 1997.