Few Procurement people drink with the gods at Olympus. But those who do know that to taste the sweet nectar of success you’ve got to ‘walk the talk’ by adopting a progressive disposition and effective leadership behaviours.

Many of us instinctively think “leadership” is solely about managing others. Yet our ability to manage ourselves as individuals is just as impactful on Procurement’s success.

Individuals and their harnessed capabilities are the lifeblood of any Procurement function. So Procurement people must embody exceptional standards of self-leadership – the ability to exercise effective leadership over one’s self. Be aware of who you are, what you stand for, how you think and act, and why you think and act the way you do. This self-insight will help propel you towards the best in you – your personal mojo.

This isn’t just about augmenting your contribution to Procurement’s achievements. It’s also about crafting a destiny of success for yourself and polishing your personal brand.

When we lack self-leadership, it creates suboptimal work outcomes. Thus, we deny ourselves the opportunity of discovering and revealing our true capabilities. And we deny our Procurement function the opportunity of harnessing the best we can give.

People with poor self-leadership rarely ever achieve outstanding performance. And job success often seems like drinking at an oasis that is actually a mirage.

Whereas people at the top of their game, who’ve delivered extraordinary performance and felt their spirit soar to the heights of Olympus, know that the taste of job success caresses the palate with a sensation of fulfilment – fulfilment that comes from leading yourself to a veritable oasis.

It’s only at the oasis that you can attest that self-leadership is vital for job success. After all, if you can’t manage yourself effectively, how can you possibly manage any category, supplier or sourcing initiative successfully? And if you cannot do that, what chance does your team have of finding its Procurement Mojo®?

If you struggle to get this, you’ll also struggle to hit your stride.

Those who ‘get it’, who understand how their self-leadership aids their contribution to Procurement’s performance success, are the ‘Procurement Ambassadors.’ They know that everything they think, say and do impacts Procurement’s accomplishments. Whereas, the ‘Procurement Assassins’ kill functional effectiveness and tarnish the Procurement brand through their suboptimal dispositions and regressive behaviours. They’ll always be prevented from drinking with the gods by their inadequate self-leadership.

If YOU are dedicated to strengthening your self-leadership and unleashing your best self, one day the roar of the fire in your belly and the tempo of the song in your heart will compel you to spread your wings and fly – on a flight path destined for the sweet nectar awaiting you at Olympus.

But baby birds don’t learn to fly in an instant. It takes repeated and relentless tries. Just as strengthening your self-leadership will. Start with a few things, like;

  • That unrelenting determination to ‘fly’. Taking ownership of your workplace development and career growth, rather than leaving your destiny at the mercy of your organisation or your boss, and staying persistent in the face of challenges are fundamental
  • This requires heightened personal effectiveness. Which, in turn, demands clarity of your goals. If your work goals are unclear, then your performance will also be uncertain. And if you have no goals, that’s like being on a journey without a destination. If you work for an inept boss who hasn’t set you SMART goals, you must set some yourself – goals that entail a degree of stretch so you can learn and grow
  • Maintain a results-orientation and hold yourself accountable. Make sure you’re delivering results that support your Procurement function’s aims, the success of your wider organisation and your own growth and development – growing from your performance attainments is the reason your goals should be a bit stretching
  • Be crystal-clear on what you’re responsible for and who you’re answerable to, directly or indirectly. And channel your energies at fulfilling your work obligations to a personal standard that is above average. Average standards yield mediocre performance. Outstanding performance comes from unwavering focus; doing the right things for optimal outcomes; and staying aware of the impact of your actions on others, and vice versa
  • Challenge your perspectives by validating that you are going about your work obligations effectively. This includes how you relate to yourself, your boss and your stakeholders. With your boss, you must consider how well you ‘manage your manager’, especially on the communication front. With your colleagues or stakeholders, you must be conscious of the powerful and often hidden influence of emotions in human interactions. And with yourself, you must never doubt the immeasurable capabilities within you
  • Take action; with integrity. Intentional action is key to self-leadership. And it’s closely correlated to how we use our time. But “time management” is a myth. You cannot ‘manage’ time; what you can manage is yourself – what you do with your time. So spend your time on activities that take you towards your goals in impactful ways. And go about things assertively. (NOTE: Assertiveness does not equal aggressiveness!)

Like every one of us, YOU CAN always lead yourself to drink with the gods at Olympus, the same gods who ordain your personal success and that of your Procurement function – because you were born with that capacity in you.

Have faith in yourself. And don’t let anyone stop you. Your sweet nectar awaits you!

Adapted excerpt from Career Dreams to Career Success by Sigi Osagie © 2018. Image by intographics™ 

Advance adaptation published as “Why the Gods of Procurement Success Demand Your Self-Leadership” on LinkedIn, 24 Apr. 2018