The concept of self-management seems pretty simple. It says it all in the name, right? You manage yourself and . . . done. But self-management is much more than that, and it’s actually pretty difficult to master. But self-management helps you to be a better leader. It helps you get stuff done and move forward. Here are four self-management assets you should focus on: adaptability, drive, emotional restraint, and positivity.
Adaptability: I think adaptability is how you adjust when new things come your way. In today’s world, there is no way you can survive without adaptability. An example can be as simple as a shift in deadlines that causes changes to a project plan. Or it can be huge. Your company was just bought out and you are thrown into a new role, with new tools that you have never used before. Being able to keep your head in the game, even when you may be freaking out, is a matter of having (and mastering) adaptability.
Drive: It’s what keeps you going and it’s about passion. On the days when you are heads down trying to solve a problem and you work from 7 a.m. to midnight, and still want to come back the next day to keep working on it? That’s drive. When you follow the mantra of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That’s drive. When you are passionate about a topic and you wake up in the middle of the night smiling and scribbling down ideas? That’s drive. Keep getting back up. Keep going.
Emotional Restraint: Ahh . . . emotions. They’re fun! But how do you keep those silly emotions in check? How do we make sure that joy comes through more than anger? The ability to check your emotions at the door and focus objectively is important. This does not mean you cannot be passionate about something (see Drive). It means you are able to step back and be able to hear other’s ideas and thoughts without screaming. You can give and receive feedback without it being taken as a personal attack. You can rein in your passion about a project if it is not the right time for the business to pursue it. Keeping your emotions in check is a key self-management asset.
Positivity: Think about the days you feel defeated. Nothing seemed to go right. You disagreed with a teammate and broke the relationship a bit. You just want to crawl under the covers. But then there are those days when you come home and you are exhausted but fulfilled. You think about the conversation you had with the CFO. She looked at your roadmap and was happy with your progress. You reflect on the insights you provided to a manager to help them make a good decision. It was a good day. It’s easy to stay positive on that great day, but how you handle those not so great days is one of the most important pieces to self-management. Focus on the impact you are making overall. Stay positive.
Bring adaptability, drive, emotional restraint and positivity together. This gives you the key assets for successful self-management.