If you can’t manage yourself how are you going to manage others? But it’s not as easy as it sounds.
There are generally three strands to a management development programme, managing change, managing resources(People, Money, Information, Buildings, Equipment) and managing self. The last one is often not given the same importance as the others but if you can’t manage yourself how are you going to manage others?
Managing your self involves developing insight into how your behaviour effects others. This necessitates getting accurate feedback from your boss, your staff, your partner but better still a mentor or independent trainer who has observed you in action. Senior managers tend not to get useful, honest feed back because those who work for them are reluctant to tell them they talk too much and don’t listen enough, that their confidence in their own judgement is misplaced, their experience is out of date or their tendency to view dissent as disloyalty shuts down discussion.
Managing self also involves managing your time. This sounds straightforward but managers at all levels can find priorities distorted and control of their diary surrendered. I once worked for a director who had his PA put all his appointments , commitments, meetings, conferences, etc in pencil in a large desk diary ( latterly from there on to his electronic diary). This was because he was always rubbing out appointments and replacing them with new appointments. He certainly had controls of his diary but his criteria for who he met when was based on status. If the chief executive wanted to meet what ever else was in the dairy was erased. However the chief executive was trumped by the chair of the board. It was the same with outside agencies if the request for a meeting was from a director or above of an organisation bigger than his own they took priority over any existing commitment. Even if he had been booked months in advance to open an in-house conference, participate in a senior management roadshow or chair a partnership meeting. He would then expect one of his senior managers to step in and cover for him at the last minute. Obviously this played havoc with our commitments and gave the impression we were disorganised and unreliable. Added to which scheduled one to ones were always the first casualties as to him his time was clearly more important than that of his senior managers.
Although the golden rule on time management may be to ask yourself,” Am I the right person and is this the best use of my time?” The reality may be that your boss will decide.
Blair Mcpherson former Director , author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk