What is self-management?

In this era of remote work and agile employees, self-management is a need, not a want. It goes beyond mere motivation and incorporates understanding yourself, effectively handling your own strengths and weaknesses, and taking charge of your self-development.

Self-management is about knowing exactly what an organisation requires from you in order to succeed. This skill can help you remain productive in changing teams and environments, opening up more employment avenues and opportunities and giving you greater control over your own career.

Why is self-management important in the workplace?

The ability to self-manage effectively is a skill that many employers value highly. Among other things, it allows supervisors to delegate certain decision-making processes – a significant timesaver given that, according to a McKinsey survey of managers and executives, more than one-quarter spend the majority of their time at work simply making decisions.

Having self-management skills means more than being able to make your own decisions. An employee capable of self-managing is capable of dealing with time pressures and competing or evolving priorities, and can adapt to sudden changes in a proactive manner. They recognise areas where they excel and delegate when it makes sense. They are able to set their own realistic goals and expectations, and can be trusted to have these aligned with their abilities.

Although self-management is an individual skill, the benefits of emphasising it at an organisational level have been well documented. For example, a 2017 study from the Journal of Facilities Management found that focusing on and improving employees’ self-management capabilities correlated to a direct increase in not only productivity, but also the quality of the company’s output.

If you’re someone who thinks that they thrive on external motivation rather than internal or self-given goals, think again. The skills needed to become a successful self-management practitioner can be developed and refined with training and time. There is no single approach that works for everyone, however, so it’s imperative that you research, experiment and reflect upon different approaches to best understand which one will benefit you most.

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