KMP Enrichment Blog          David Applegate, Safety Manager

November 2021

Doing the right thing … regardless!!

Okay, I need your help! I have an idea in my head but, I am not sure what to call it. I have a few options in mind, however, they do not seem to hit the mark!


For now, let’s call my topic or idea, Self-Leadership! I suppose others would call this very subject, Self-Discipline or Self-Awareness. Even emotional intelligence, or plain old Staying Focused. Whichever you choose to call it, this subject is for most everyone.


As each of us grows older, the idea that I have, this Self-Leadership concept, becomes more challenging. Here is what I mean, the more mature you become, concepts like time management soon become task management. Preparing a budget becomes following a budget, and setting goals now become keeping goals. Yes, I have discovered that learning to lead yourself (or Self-Leadership) is an arduous task and requires large blocks of time. For some, like myself, it is a lifelong process.


 Is it true to say that every leader struggles at times to stay focused? Do you find it difficult to get yourself to the next level of leadership? Struggle to develop healthy relationships? Wrestle within yourself to keep your emotions in check? I say, “Yes.” And, I say that these are all Self-Leadership issues.


The upshot or take-away for me is this, that no matter how difficult it may be to lead others, no matter how great the uphill climb may be for you to live as an example for those around you. No matter how great the battle may be for you to model what leadership is all about. You cannot lead or be a pattern for anyone to follow until you have first led yourself. Some call it Self-Leadership, others call it an art. I call it hard!


Naming the idea of Self-Leadership does not mean mastering the concept of Self-Leadership. So, I admit that I am still learning to self-lead. I have

discovered a helpful principle that I would like to pass on to you.


I am not always successful but as often as possible: I try to do the right thing regardless of the context.


I do not just do the right thing when I am with my Boss, or at the office, or with one of our Superintendents. I try to lead myself in doing the right thing when they are not around. I strive to be the same person at work and home, in public and in private.


Think about it, if I cannot lead myself effectively, why would others want to follow me? For me, Self-Leaders act with the same integrity in every context. I can say with certainty that their character and behavior are not situation-based; instead, their character and behavior are decision-based. That kind of person with that type of Self-Leadership builds trust, respect, and commitment in those who choose to follow them.


For me, the bottom line is, Self-Leadership is not easy! As I see it, Self-Leadership is a journey, a lifelong task. And in the end, the effective

Self-Leader is better equipped to lead others and to lead a healthy, thriving, and productive crew or organization!