Why you need to learn self-management first

If you’re not managing yourself correctly then how are you expected to lead and manage others?

From the way you set up your office to how you manage your workload, it all sends signals to the people around you.

If you work in a chaotic way, last minute dot com, then you’re creating chaos around you. Likeminded colleagues will be put in even more of a frenzy. And don’t get me started on the disruption and discomfort you’re causing to those who like to plan and prepare.

I’m always reminded of a sign that an office assistant put above her workspace in one of the hospitals I worked at. It read ‘Your poor planning is not my emergency’ … and it’s true, but as a leader the chances are people won’t actually tell you where to go when you spring something on them, they’ll probably just bitch and moan about you behind your back!

Then there’s the leaders who needs to feel in control at all times, they have to know what’s happening everywhere. They blur the lines between strategic oversight and operational management. They get deep down into the weeds…

Whilst it might temporarily allay your worries, all you’re really doing is creating a bigger problem.

Firstly you’re signalling that you don’t trust your teams to do their jobs.

Secondly, you’re creating an over-reliance on you, which is disempowering to others and overwhelming for you.

And the evidence shows that dependent organisations are low, or at best middling, in terms of operational performance.

Thirdly — and I’ve seen this happen — you’re creating reams of to-do lists of things you need to be all over. You’re waking up in the night worried about what you might have forgotten. You’re getting in earlier and leaving later as you try to keep up. You’re bombarding your teams with emails, text messages and voicemails to get updates and information.

Now, some of this is big mindset and behaviour stuff that you’ll need to work on over time. That’s why having a coach can really help.

But there are things that you can start working on today.

Like figuring out what’s information sharing versus input versus decision-making can really help your teams to know how and when to get you involved.

Or making some protected time in your diary where you can start forward planning or at the very least get to to working on those papers, projects or whatever it is that you usually leave until you’re up against it. I always pull everything I’m going to need into a folder beforehand so when I get down to it I have no excuses not to do the work.

Then there’s Trello … an organiser’s dream tool (and it’s free!). I love nothing more than planning something out on a Trello board. It’s where all my to-do lists are kept. It’s how I forward plan and make sure I don’t lose track of what I’m working on. It’s how I collaborate with other people, so we all have oversight over the same thing.

In my corporate life I used to set-up and oversee the running of the CEO office. One of my proudest moments was introducing one CEO to Trello. He and his PA suddenly had a hub where they could track all the things they needed to. He could see progress against actions without needing to chase. He could add actions on and know his PA will pick up in a planned and coordinated way. It transformed their relationship and reduced the stress. And years later they’re still using — and loving — it.

Whether you use Trello or some other system, having an approach for how you manage yourself is a great first step whilst you work on the bigger mindset and behaviour changes.

And if this has got you thinking about how you’re managing yourself at the moment, then watch my YouTube video below. I’m talking about boundary setting and the three areas to focus on.

If you’re a CEO or senior leader who needs to improve their self-management to make a better impact in the workplace get in touch or sign up for my newsletter.

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Lee Griffith

Founder of sunday skies | Leadership strategy & coaching | Passionate about connection & communication | www.sundayskies.com