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January 28, 2015

Hello, Trailblazer!

Last July I wrote about the “leader without followers,” a way of referring to all the qualities of leadership we value that don’t involve guiding or directing other people. I coined the inelegant term “responsibility-handling-ness” as a way of referring to this collection of capacities. I was really reaching for words.

Since then I have come up with the phrase that I think comfortably refers to this collection of autonomy, self-direction, initiative, resourcefulness, intention, and the ability to adapt and make decisions under the stress of novel or changing circumstances. I call it self-leadership.

Going through some previous things I’d written, I came across an article for parents of children in Montessori schools that spoke to important benefits of a Montessori education that are key reasons many parents choose the Montessori way. In addition to providing an engaging way for children to learn academic concepts, the Montessori way is developed around a philosophy of promoting the development of self-leadership in children.

Fortunately for us, the approach is something we can follow in our own lives. As you read it, think of ways you can turn your daily life into a Montessori classroom that develops your self-leadership skills.

May you be agile on your path,

Stephen Coxsey, MA, LPC, PCC
Positive Psychology Coach
Leadership Development

Feature Article: Developing Self-Leadership the Montessori Way

I didn’t use the phrase self-leadership years ago, but I wrote about it in different venues. Words from an article I wrote for Montessori parents stand out now as resonant with self-leadership.

“We want our children to be known as individuals, to be considered as a person and not a number, to be valued and cherished for their unique personal traits and talents.”

Self-leadership is about identifying and developing your strengths and talents and discovering the unique combination of features that define you as an individual.

“Montessori education is about developing the whole child, helping him follow his natural curiosity and discover the captivation of learning and mastering new things.”

Self-leadership is about developing yourself as a whole person, by following your natural curiosity driven by your strengths and talents which draw you to activities that develop them. Self-leadership is about lifelong learning and growth, mastering a challenge and then looking to step outside your comfort zone and find something new to take on.

“Montessori education wants to guide children in self-discovery, self-development, and self-expression.”

Self-discovery is a key process for the self-leader. A self-leader will perceive self-discovery as a call to self-development, building strengths and talents and expanding his or her world. A natural result of developing oneself is using those strengths and talents in productive work, whether for career or volunteerism or personal projects or hobbies. This is self-expression.

“Montessori education wants to nurture creative explorers, community builders, peacemakers, and leaders.”

Developing self-leadership means developing a lifelong love of learning that leads to an approach defined by openness, creativity, and curiosity, seeking opportunities to work with other people who enjoy collaborating to find better solutions to challenges. Openness, connection, and collaboration build communities and promote peace.

“This is the reason above all reasons that we choose Montessori education for our children. We want them to embrace lifelong learning and be open to new experiences. We want them to feel an internal drive to develop all their potential, to challenge themselves and continue to grow throughout their lives. We want them to understand that liberty is freedom of self-development and self-expression, anchored by self-discipline. This is the difference between a life of fitting in to other people’s definitions and a life of defining oneself.”

This is a life of self-leadership.

Application: A Montessori classroom is carefully designed by the teacher to promote exploration by the children. The day is structured to balance solo pursuits and group activities and encourages active time and quiet time. Enough time is allowed for children to get engrossed in an activity – to get into flow. Plan times to put yourself into places of exploration. Design your own space – home or work – to promote activities that let you try out things and develop new skills. Give yourself plenty of time to get into flow.

Questions: What is an activity that will pull you out of your comfort zone but is likely to be enjoyable, even captivating, as you try it out?

About Steve Coxsey

Steve partners with people who have a compelling vision and are committed to turning it into reality. They carry the responsibility for results, whether it’s leading organizations, running their businesses, advancing their careers, or guiding their families. Often it’s a combination of roles that compete for their time and attention.

Through coaching and training powered by neuroscience and positive psychology – the science of thriving – Steve’s clients design and implement a customized plan for success and well-being, both for the clients themselves and the people they lead and influence. They develop motivation, agility, endurance, and resilience to thrive on a personally meaningful path and instill a culture of thriving in the communities they lead.

Steve helps his clients develop self-leadership so they can express the best of who they are in how they act and what they do. He encourages them to cultivate their strengths and talents so they can take ownership of their productivity and creativity.

As a result, they excel in their work and grow as leaders. They become powerful, breaking free of other people’s boxes and cubicles. The live and work in alignment with who they really are, defining success in terms of their own values, beliefs, and purpose. They have a vision for the future based on their core values and principles and can bring their vision to life through leadership.

Would you like that to be you?

Are you ready for a creative, dynamic, collaborative partnership focused on turning your vision into results.

Get started with a no-risk 30-40 minute consultation. It’s complimentary, so all it will cost you is a little bit of time. You can schedule the complimentary call using this online tool. You can also call 817-416-8971 or e-mail Steve@SteveCoxsey.com to set up the call.

Click here for more information than you could possibly ever want to know about Steve.

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