Leaders: Start with one - an exploration of Self-Management


Small adjustments for big impacts

A bi-weekly publication

Written by Joy Kuhns

Published 19 September 2023 | 2 min read

Self Management

There’s no getting around the pressures that Leaders and their staff are facing. Daniel Goleman in his book entitled The New Leaders (2007) states that leaders need to be effective at employing emotional intelligence by managing their emotions effectively. Self-Management includes self-control, transparency, adaptability, achievement, initiative and optimism (pg. 328). In the past I have written about how leaders also need to have great communication, be reflective when things go awry, and engage their staff well, to be effective in aligning their people with the organisation’s journey.  

However, these actions, along with managing themselves require a leader to be almost super-human, while facing significant pressure with the need for agility, all under the watch of their staff.  Consider also, the disruptive nature of AI and the likely need to implement change (now affecting you and your staff), the leader needs to take particular care of themselves first  to continue to build strength. 

How on earth can you do this?

We have all started programmes that seemed like a good idea at the time, and we didn’t finish them – maybe they were boring or too long; however, this can make you feel worse!

There is a simple approach that can be transformational - start with the basics, just ONE. Di Foster (2023) is such an inspirational leader who directly changed her health prognosis by focusing on a 1% change at a time, each action building on the next.

What can you focus on?

Selected models and tips follow

Lucy Hone (2019), has great insight developed from adversity. She describes deliberate actions that resilient people take. They:

  1. Accept that terrible things happen, as part of life
  2. Choose carefully where they select their attention: focusing on the things they can control
  3. Ask themselves: is what I am doing helpful or harming me?

The Maori health model, Te Whare Tapa Whā (shown above) is grounded and balanced in thinking about wellbeing as a wharenui (Maori meeting house) in five different aspects: Mental and emotional, spiritual, family and social, physical and land, roots.

Tom Rath (2009) adds in Career Wellbeing.

Tips: Philosophies and actions you can undertake

Start with you, choosing one aspect of the models shown earlier  Deliberately focus on what you can control and be positively focused on them  Get out in nature – sit on a bench seat, have a walking meeting, go for a walk to think or relax  Check out this list of free sleep apps and download to help you sleep better 

View list
Start a new hobby Watch a funny show
Learn something new  Focus on an area where you would like to modify what you eat, such as fruit  Find a mentor to help you on a career journey  Take good care of your health by having the check up that you’ve been putting off  Call a friend or meet one for coffee  Get a free copy from us of Reclaim your Energy at work worksheet 

The power of one

Focus on one aspect, one thing. The above ideas will help you build strength and agility, help you grow and feel supported, allow you to relax, clear brain fog and increase endorphins.  
You can significantly lead with positive outcome for yourself and for those you lead by doing ONE

Want to know more or to let us know how you are doing?

Be sure to reach out to us, contact Joy Kuhns at joy@exl.nz or 021 077 3938.

Additionally, for more information, check out the enclosed references.



Foster, D. (2023). Di Foster: An Inspiring Entrepreneur on Health and Safety, Wellbeing and Business Leadership
Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., McKee, A. (2007). The New Leaders: Transforming the art of leadership into the science of results. Sphere.
Hone, L (2019). The three secrets of resilient people. TEDxChristchurch.  
Insight Timer.
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Te Whare Tapa Whā (n.d.)

Rath, T. Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. Gallup Press.  

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