SELF-MANAGEMENT

“If you can’t manage self, don’t expect anyone to entrust you with a team”

This bite is about managing self at the workplace. If you don’t manage yourself well, nobody else will do it for you. Self-management is an employable skill. Have it. If you cannot manage yourself, how can your Line Manager entrust careers of other employees to you. Employees get to work and they start working without plans for the day. The purpose and the activities for the day must be planned as part of the day’s deliverables. Do well to use the PLOC: Plan, Lead, Organize and Control. You need to plan the day, lead the day, organize the day and control the day’s events.

On the road to Leadership Development, it is a must to know your mission at the workplace on a daily basis. If you fail to do this, you’ll either be misdirected or you’ll never have a direction. The latter is dangerous, though. Itemize and prioritize your deliverables on a daily basis. In simple terms ensure that you do have a to-do list. Update the task list by reviewing each day’s events. Strike out tasks executed and scrutinize yourself objectively on outstanding tasks. Be genuine with self and be critical with your actions in order to avoid conflict of interest between self, emotions, thinking, tasks and actions. Remember that self-assessment is the sure way to self-management.

As an employable skill, self-management may not be taught at schools. Regretfully. The good news however is, the skill is transferrable, often times at the workplace. Learn from colleagues, advisedly, Line Managers. You may have an innate gift in managing self, but it is always fantastic to pick that up from the workplace. Time management has a lot to do with self-management, as well as personal development.

By simply sticking to time, you’ll pick up a skill in time discipline. It’s important to also learn to manage self in how to communicate at the workplace. It’s sad to see employees get to work and get lost in the day’s activities. Some don’t really know why they are even at work. Some come to work for nothing. Probe it. In actual fact, they come to work to waste shareholders money, waste the team’s time and disappointingly and unknowingly, waste their own time. I always wish that your eyes could see through your minds and I ask that you learn to manage all kinds of characters at the workplace. If you cannot manage yourself, never aspire to manage a team. Self-management first.

Of course, you go to work to make friends and broaden your network, but the underpinning principle is that you go to work to work. You don’t go to work to make friends. Let your presence connect to work and your performance create friends for you. Some come to work to make friends, focus on fraternizing and forget their mission at the workplace. At best, you can make friends and still execute your functions judiciously. But the focus must be on work, first. It’s not difficult to manage self. It starts by having a mental picture of how and where you see yourself in the next three, five to ten years at a personal, family and corporate level. There should be one honest thing to know. In managing self, always bear in mind that people will criticize your every move. You may not be accepted if you don’t join in corporate corner gossip gatherings in wasting your time. You will be questioned and sometimes be seen as too serious with work and life. But just so you know, work is business. Work is serious. Be serious with business. Be serious at the workplace. Because work is a serious business.

In managing self, you may also encounter confrontations from every corner at the workplace: top, down, center, side and side. So this is it, paraphrasing Mr. Wenger, Football Manager at the Arsenal Football Club in England: you may have to defend yourself and explain your actions sometimes to people who know just a little bit of the game. Be ready for idea resistance because people will not think like you do. Yet be kind. Be loving. Be prudent. Be firm.

To the uncontaminated, all is uncontaminated. Love everyone. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Love them not because they will love you back. Love them because you have to love them. You can genuinely chide a member of your team if you genuinely want to develop him or her. Let your path be clean when managing self. Support no malice. Be objective.

I cannot discuss self-management and not touch on self-control and self-restrain. As you prepare and polish your self-management skills towards leadership development, you need doses of self-control as hinted in the bites on the D-word. That inner spirit that makes you say yes or no. The bites cannot be quiet on this. The road to Leadership development is clear on when, what and how to talk and when, what and how not to talk. This is crucial to self-development.

Some employees and associates get carried away and get sunk in very’useless’ unproductive baseless corporate conversations and arguments sometimes. Jumping from desk to desk and denying other people from working is sometimes baffling. Some have the’bugitude’ (bug attitude). They are annoying, unproductive, banging heads together, oozing itching poisonous substances, staining and causing uncomfortable situations at the workplace. Self-management is a big deal towards leadership development.

Sometimes you have to be the ones to build your capacities. May be your Line Leader may not build you. Do an internal scan to heighten the things you do best and on the other side of the equation, work on the difficult stuff. I use the four-pointer concept. The things I do best or more of. The things I do less or worst of. The things I want to stop doing and the things I want to start doing. These pointers are very objective tools. Have you ever felt like, why am I doing the things I hate doing? Just use the four-pointer concept.

Self-restrain is also key to self-management. It is all about learning to sometimes’jail’ your actions or inactions and your thoughts to enable things run to better an entire team. In its simple terms, it comes with sacrifices for the team, yourself and often times for the family. In self-restrain, you need to learn to forget the opportunity cost to your final decisions and destinations. Focus and defend the decisions taken. I once told a team that if you lose some things to gain other things, respect the things you lost but focus on what you gained and multiply them subsequently. Keep your eyes on the destination point and work for it. You could have used that money to get a new car, get a new wardrobe and even do that knees-up jamboree. How about forfeiting these and investing in self-development like another education, savings and good investments. In effect, focus on whatever decision you make so you reap the fruits thereof to in turn create opportunities to obtain the things you so desire to acquire.

In self-management, don’t be driven in’if tomorrow never comes’. Tomorrow shall surely come. Just get prepared. Self-management is about preparedness. When you manage self well, you are always prepared for bigger tasks. Opportunities will come day after day. But you have to manage yourself to take up opportunities when they come. I don’t agree that opportunity comes but once. No way. Opportunities come knocking too many times. You just don’t see because you are not prepared. Opportunities come in barrages.

People who take up opportunities have self-managed themselves very well and are prepared as always. Unfortunately, society see them as happy lucky people. There is nothing like luck. People who are hardworking, self-managed and prepared, always see opportunities quickly and they execute them. Former Manchester United Football Club Manager, Sir Alex Ferguson hinted that there is no real luck in football, perhaps five percent luck and ninety-five percent hard work. So is life. Prepare and you’ll be crowned with luck. Secretly, luck is in preparation and hard work. You can only appreciate luck when you are prepared. When you are prepared, you’ll see the opportunity and you’ll find luck when opportunity presents itself. Success doesn’t come by chance. Work for it.

Instead of working hard, upgrading self on the job and also seeking other knowledge, people get sunk in unnecessary, unfruitful and irrelevant discussions which end up killing opportunities at the workplace. The last time I checked, opportunity was not in an enclosed office. It is out there. Go out for business. Go out for the deals. Opportunities may not walk into your office halls. Step out of yourself.

Managing self shouldn’t be tough. On individual basis you should learn to restrain. At some point we summed it all up that a good manager is one that gets the job done through people. Interpreting this with self-management, you are right to conclude that a good self-manager is one that gets the work done through himself or herself and by himself or herself. You cannot be trusted if you cannot trust yourselves to get jobs done. As you journey on, be seen as an employee who can manage his or her desk. Get your jobs done. Don’t allow your desk to be the center for time wasting corporate activities like gossips, fashion talks, TV programmes, political discussions and trending social issues. Be SMART if you want to climb the corporate ladder.

Some say you can never be a royal if it doesn’t run in your blood. True. But you can also create an empire and grow a royal family. When you learn to manage yourself well, you’ll be on your way to Leadership glory. It must not run in your blood. It’s not about driving Cadillac in your sleep or building castles in the air. It is a reality. Learn to manage self on your way to Leadership Development. It is one of the key employable skills towards Leadership Development.

Just build the CEO mindset any day anytime and be seen as a Leader even in your little corner with that big trusted mentality of leading a team to success. Think ahead. See ahead. If you cannot manage yourself don’t even think of managing a team. This is just the message. Self-management is that yeast- just like in your bread- that makes meaning and brings relevance to the team.

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