If you can’t manage yourself how are you going to manage others? But
it’s not as easy as it sounds.
There are generally three strands to a management development
programme, managing change, managing resources(People, Money,
Information, Buildings, Equipment) and managing self. The last one is
often not given the same importance as the others but if you can’t
manage yourself how are you going to manage others?
Managing your self involves developing insight into how your
behaviour effects others. This necessitates getting accurate feedback
from your boss, your staff, your partner but better still a mentor or
independent trainer who has observed you in action. Senior managers
tend not to get useful, honest feed back because those who work for
them are reluctant to tell them they talk too much and don’t listen
enough, that their confidence in their own judgement is misplaced,
their experience is out of date or their tendency to view dissent as
disloyalty shuts down discussion.
Managing self also involves managing your time. This sounds
straightforward but managers at all levels can find priorities
distorted and control of their diary surrendered. I once worked for a
director who had his PA put all his appointments , commitments,
meetings, conferences, etc in pencil in a large desk diary ( latterly
from there on to his electronic diary). This was because he was always
rubbing out appointments and replacing them with new appointments. He
certainly had controls of his diary but his criteria for who he met
when was based on status. If the chief executive wanted to meet what
ever else was in the dairy was erased. However the chief executive was
trumped by the chair of the board. It was the same with outside
agencies if the request for a meeting was from a director or above of
an organisation bigger than his own they took priority over any
existing commitment. Even if he had been booked months in advance to
open an in-house conference, participate in a senior management
roadshow or chair a partnership meeting. He would then expect one of
his senior managers to step in and cover for him at the last minute.
Obviously this played havoc with our commitments and gave the
impression we were disorganised and unreliable. Added to which
scheduled one to ones were always the first casualties as to him his
time was clearly more important than that of his senior managers.
Although the golden rule on time management may be to ask yourself,”
Am I the right person and is this the best use of my time?” The
reality may be that your boss will decide.
Blair Mcpherson former Director , author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk