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12 Rules for Self-Management
Management is not just for managers, just as leadership is not just for leaders.
We all manage, and we all lead; these are not actions reserved for only those people who happen to hold these “positions” in a company. I personally think of management and leadership as callings, and we all get these callings to manage and lead at different times, and to different degrees.
Considered another way, I believe we can all learn to be more self-governing through the disciplines of great management and great leadership; these are concepts that can give us wonderful tenets to live and work by.
For instance, these are what I’ve come to think of as Twelve Rules for Self-Management. Show me a business where everyone lives and works by self-managing, and I’ll bet it’s a business destined for greatness.
- Live by your values, whatever they are. You confuse people when you don’t, because they can’t predict how you’ll behave.
- Speak up! No one can “hear” what you’re thinking without you be willing to stand up for it. Mind-reading is something most people can’t do.
- Honor your own good word, and keep the promises you make. If not, people eventually stop believing most of what you say, and your words will no longer work for you.
- When you ask for more responsibility, expect to be held fully accountable. This is what seizing ownership of something is all about; it’s usually an all or nothing kind of thing, and so you’ve got to treat it that way.
- Don’t expect people to trust you if you aren’t willing to be trustworthy for them first and foremost. Trust is an outcome of fulfilled expectations.
- Be more productive by creating good habits and rejecting bad ones. Good habits corral your energies into a momentum-building rhythm for you; bad habits sap your energies and drain you.
- Have a good work ethic, for it seems to be getting rare today. Curious, for those “old-fashioned” values like dependability, timeliness, professionalism and diligence are prized more than ever before. Be action-oriented. Seek to make things work. Be willing to do what it takes.
- Be interesting. Read voraciously, and listen to learn, then teach and share everything you know. No one owes you their attention; you have to earn it and keep attracting it.
- Be nice. Be courteous, polite and respectful. Be considerate. Manners still count for an awful lot in life, and thank goodness they do.
- Be self-disciplined. That’s what adults are supposed to “grow up” to be.
- Don’t be a victim or a martyr. You always have a choice, so don’t shy from it: Choose and choose without regret. Look forward and be enthusiastic.
- Keep healthy and take care of yourself. Exercise your mind, body and spirit so you can be someone people count on, and so you can live expansively and with abundance.
Managers will tell you that they don’t really need to manage people who live by these rules; instead, they can devote their attentions to managing the businesses in which they all thrive. Chances are it will also be a place where great leaders are found.
Next week: 12 Rules for Self-Leadership
- On Ho‘ohiki, Keeping Your Promises
- The Real Rules of Engagement
- New to Management: A Learning Hit List
- The Role of the Manager
- The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers
Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business. She fervently believes that work can inspire, and that great managers and leaders can change our lives for the better. You can visit her on www.managingwithaloha.com.
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