The concept of leadership does not often consider the role that self-management plays in effectively achieving business outcomes. However, while the demands on leaders increase as our organisations become more positive, there is a need for greater self-management for each individual in the organisation. This need will only grow in the coming years as flexitime, remote offices and digital collaboration become the norm.
Before we unravel how to grow self-management in the workplace, we need to dene it.
Self-management is the ability of each individual in the organisation to demonstrate the skills needed to manage their own time and work priorities, the insight to manage their own emotions and behaviours, and the confidence to take responsibility for problems that arise and to report back accurately on progress.
In this article, we will offer insight into how self-management can be developed in the workplace, and why self-management is valuable for the modern-day workplace.
While this may be challenging for some leaders to read and reflect upon, a growing awareness of how your leadership style can impact the growth and development of self-management in your employees is a strong starting point to grow your business for the modern world.
Self-Management Starts with Self- Awareness
The art of successful self-management is the ability of each individual to reflect on their own internal processes. Social and emotional intelligence and ownership of one’s beliefs and behaviours are key elements of self-awareness, the development of which can create trusting and healthy relationships between leaders and staff as well as between team members.
Each one of these components is a continuous learning and growth pathway for individuals and requires consistent effort in order to gain better management of oneself. As a leader in this process, there are a lot of benefits to you knowing yourself better and providing a pathway for the rest to follow.
If a leader is triggered emotionally or socially, they will be unable to manage the other individual from a healthy and objective viewpoint. Therefore, in order for individuals to become empowered to self-manage, they will need the support of a self-aware role model. The leader in this scenario has to be attuned to their internal world, aware of their own responses, and willing to take responsibility for their emotions and actions so that their staff respect and follow them based on influence instead of authority.
Developing emotional intelligence and awareness of one’s beliefs and behaviours takes curiosity, insight and self-appreciation. But one needs to be willing to not always be right but rather to choose to be authentic.
The process of self-awareness is not easy, however much of the conflicts, disengagement and employee turnover we are experiencing in the workplace are due to mismanaged emotions, limiting beliefs and disrespectful behaviours which cause people to become disconnected.
Another element of self-awareness is to become aware of our character strengths. By virtue of the fact that we are innately good at something means we are more intrinsically motivated to perform any actions that use the said strength.
A strength focus is a key to self-management, as individuals who know what they are good at and are given the opportunities (and the autonomy) to have their work align with their strengths, will need less management and incentives from leaders as the tasks themselves will provide the motivation to continue working towards their goals and provide quality outputs.
The Role of Leadership in Self- Management at Work
Self-management involves a non-hierarchical approach in the workplace. With work environments becoming less like a food chain of power politics, and organisational commitment at an all-time low, there is a need for individuals to become more autonomous in the workplace.
While this may seem daunting to many leaders who already have a lot on their agenda and a stronghold approach to employee management, the beauty of self-management is that once it has begun, it only needs to be maintained. However, a key element to building a self-management culture is trust – leaders will need to become aware of their own insecurities and ego in order to hand over the responsibility to their staff. While not easy or simple, one cannot be empowered to take care of oneself if someone else is taking care of us. A basic premise of this was first introduced by Stephen Karpman in his Drama Triangle Model.
In any conflict situation we tend to play one of three roles unless we have the self-awareness to step out of the circle:
- The Victim: Believes they need saving and if not helped will perceive themselves to be persecuted. These individuals will struggle to be independent and nd it difficult to make decisions.
- The Persecutor: Believes they cannot be vulnerable for fear that they become a victim. They are inflexible and use power and criticism, however rarely solve problems or actually help the situation.
- The Rescuer: Believes they need victims to help and can’t allow people to succeed because then their role is not needed. They become guilty if not helping people and use guilt to keep the dependence of the victim. They often have a martyr style and are usually worried, overworked and exhausted.