Self management has been an important attribute towards a successful professional life. However, its value is being recognized today, more than ever, as most organizations are working remotely. Put simply, self management is the constant practice of process and actions that allow individuals to control their work in a streamlined manner and achieve results, without external interference. In a conventional setting, employees have managers and leaders guiding and directing them throughout the day, in short managing them at every step.
However, with the shift to remote work, individuals need to boost skills like goal setting, organization, time management, punctuality, etc to survive and thrive in the new normal. Developing self management skills is a two pronged move and requires effort on part of the employees as well as their managers.
Boosting self management: Employee steps
To begin with, there are some steps that employees can incorporate in their day-to-day work to boost self management and set themselves up for professional growth.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses: For self management, it is very important for employees to identify what they are good at and which area requires work. This can help them navigate what projects suit them the best. At the same time, self management is all about leveraging your capabilities which is only possible when you understand your strengths.
- Prioritize and organize: In a conventional setting, employees generally get one task after another. However, in remote work, they may receive a list of tasks which are due for the day or week. Therefore, it is important for employees to master the art of prioritization and organization. This refers to deciding what is more urgent as well as having a clear structured process for each task. Critical work needs to be completed first and in an organized manner to achieve efficiency.
- Create personal deadlines: Self management is not only about doing work and achieving results on your own, but doing so in a time bound manner. To ace managing oneself, it is important to have personal deadlines for every work you commence. Irrespective of whether your organization has a deadline for the work in hand, you must have one to avoid work spilling over and choking your future bandwidth.
- Focus on mental wellbeing: Self management can be overwhelming. Therefore, in addition to skills that make work more efficient, employees need to focus on mental health and wellness. Practicing meditation can be a starting point. The idea is not to get succumbed to the work at hand and try to do everything in one go. Mental wellbeing will help achieve the above three as well.
These steps can be a starting point for employees to boost their self management skills. At the same time, managers and leaders can play an important role in acting as a support system in many ways.
Promoting self management: Role of managers
As mentors and superordinates, managers and leaders have a special role to play in promoting self management among their team members. There are several ways to commence such efforts.
- Encourage new skills and capabilities: It is vital for managers to encourage their team members to pick up new skills and capabilities that come in handy for self management. The idea is to enable them to be as independent as possible. Right from documentation to basic presentation, ensure that your team members develop capabilities that make remote work and management seamless.
- Offer autonomy and flexibility: Self management requires a considerable degree of trust and faith resulting in autonomy and flexibility. Give your employees the freedom to work in the way they feel is best. Do not dictate every minute of how the day should look like. Have confidence in their decision making abilities. Obviously, it is important to keep a track of the progress, but simultaneously show faith in their ability to manage work on their own.
- Provide feedback and tools: Finally, it is very important to offer constant and constructive feedback to help them understand where they might be going wrong. The key to self management is to enable your employees to develop the right skills and manage work on their own, rather than you managing it for them. This requires empowering them with the right tools and offering them the direction and mentoring to leverage them.
Invariably, managers and leaders play an important role in promoting self management. Only when they loosen the grip on their employees and give the latter the flexibility and encouragement to manage themselves, will there be true impact.
The road ahead
These are a few steps to promote self management as a way to succeed in the new normal. It is very important for organizations to seriously consider experimenting with platforms like SuperBeings which can help their employees develop skills of self management via behavioural nudges and subtle coaching. It is time to transform the way we work from a manager led approach to employee ownership.