After a long day of managing others, it’s easy to forget about managing yourself. If those whom you manage are performing consistently, that might not seem like much of an issue, but consistency shouldn’t be the goal.
Great management is founded upon an individual’s ability to develop talent, and like any ability, honing it takes experience and dedication.
So how can managers truly develop others if they are not in the habit of developing themselves?
There are a vast amount of ways to accomplish self-management in both the home and workplace, but here are the three I believe are most important.
Exploit Your Biological Clock
Great work relies on mental acuity, and the nemesis of mental acuity is tradition.
Just because meetings were held in the mornings at your last job doesn’t mean you should hold meetings in the morning if you find it easier to problem solve later in the day. Nor should you drop everything at midday just because of some pre-conceived notion of ‘lunch time’.
Knowing when you work best, and using that knowledge to your advantage, is key to working effectively and efficiently. Structure your day around that time. Make it habit.
When you learn to respect the power of the biological clock and exploit it to your advantage, you will start paying attention to how it impacts your workforce.
Recognising when others do their best work makes managing them, and the projects they’re involved in much easier.
Efficient business practice has long been tempered by the traditional 9-5 work day. When we acknowledge that workers won’t always work to their limits during this period simply because they’re getting paid, we open the door to the kind of possibilities that will ensure we get the best out of everyone.
Work Hard, and Reward
Most leaders will inevitably be ensnared by the mindset of the workaholic; a mindset which spurs us to work hard without expectation or reward.
It may be our business or, at least, a business in which we hold a prominent position, but why does that mean we shouldn’t reward ourselves when we meet our goals?
Sure, they shouldn’t be the sole reason to work towards a goal, but they do serve to boost motivation when things are tough, or not going as planned. In this way, they keep the focus of our mission in perspective.
I’m not saying you have to hand out bonuses every time your team hits a goal, but when you recognise how you feel when rewarding yourself after a job well done, you’ll know the importance of acknowledging when others do the same.
Again, this is a case of shirking tradition. Some leaders might feel as if rewarding workers for doing their job is unnecessary, but even the slightest sign of appreciation can go a long way in strengthening loyalty, trust, and a sense of community in the workplace.
Search for Insight
When the day is done, take time not just to reflect, but question in the pursuit of insight.
Mohanbir Sawhney and Sanjay Khosla, co-writers of Fewer, Bigger, Bolder: From Mindless Expansion to Focused Growth have created a list of seven insight channels for self-managers:
- Anomalies. What benefits may come of the unexpected?
- Confluence. Where can you recognise important trends or developing habits?
- Frustration. How can you make the most out of the problems you face?
- Orthodoxies. Is it time to break from toxic traditions?
- Extremities. What lessons can be learnt from those around you?
- Voyages. How is your world impacted by the world of others?
- Analogies. How can the stories of others improve your life?
Learn how to tap into these channels in your own life, and you will soon be able to do the same for the business and people you manage.
Asking questions lays the path for innovation. Innovation will keep employees engaged, and the business relevant in a time of great change in the workforce.
It’s not enough to be a competent leader. We must strive to be a great leader, and we can only become one if we first learn to manage ourselves. By following the steps above, we can do just that, and take our work, and our workforce, to new heights.