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Chapter 1. The Journey > Self-Leadership

Self-Leadership

Building on the definition of leadership presented earlier in this chapter, self-leadership can be stated as “the process of influencing oneself.” This definition is, of course, general and does not provide the detail necessary to gain a better understanding or a more effective execution of the process. It does point out, though, the global target at which this book is focused—the process that we experience in influencing ourselves. The primary elements of this process will be presented and discussed throughout the remainder of the book. First, however, we attempt to summarize, in a general sense, the primary ingredients of self-leadership.

The concept of self-leadership is derived primarily from research and theory in two areas of psychology. The first, social cognitive theory,[3] recognizes the adoption and change of human behavior as a complex process with many parts. It recognizes that we influence as well as are influenced by the world we live in (more on this idea in chapter 2). The theory places importance on the capacity of a person to manage or control oneself—particularly when faced with difficult yet important tasks (this viewpoint serves as the primary basis for chapter 3). Social cognitive theory also recognizes the human ability to learn and experience tasks or events through vicarious and symbolic mechanisms (which points out the importance of our ability to learn by observing others and to use our imagination). Chapter 5 will address these ideas more fully. Finally, the social cognitive theory stresses the importance of our perceptions of our own effectiveness or potential to be effective (more of this in chapter 8).


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