By constant self-discipline and self-control, you can develop greatness of character.
-Grenville Kleiser. 

Spotting a person with low self-management skills is easy in the workplace. They typically have outbursts, let their emotions run them down and in short become their own worst enemy. You may see this person (or be this person) and think that there is no hope. The good news is that is quite achievable if we focus on this area along with our self-awareness from last week. 

Understanding Self-Management

 Self-management is all about how you act, react or take no action at all. This piece is heavily dependant on self-awareness because you need to understand yourself and your triggers to be able to manage them well. The first step is the ability to control your reactions to tough, challenging and annoying moments. The challenge is working this into a long-term mindset. It’s easy to see you need to control yourself when someone drops a gallon of milk on the floor. It’s not as easy to understand that blowing up in a meeting may cost you the personal equity you need to push a project through six months from now. 

Example of low Self-Management

“John is quick, harsh and too much to the point. I wish he’d take some time to gather himself when things get stressful. He vents…. a lot. John also has a hard time letting other people win or acknowledging their contributions over this own. It’s not that he doesn’t care about his team. He does. He lets his emotions fully control how he leads.”

Example of high Self-Management

“John is in one word professional. He shows so much patience and empathy with everyone that he deals with. It really shows when I can see how he deals with ones that I know annoy him. He keeps a high standard, but handles his people with care and respect no matter the circumstance.”

Tips to increase your Self-Management

  • Find someone not invested in the problem. Sometimes we can get caught up in a cycle of our own emotions and negativity. It’s helpful to take the scenario or situation to someone you trust that’s not invested in the problem. They aren’t inherently attached to a thought or idea and can help guide you as you make your decision. Just make sure that the person is truly neutral and doesn’t show a biased to your decision just because it’s coming from you. (Those are called enablers.)
  • Find a skilled mentor or advisor. This is a great area where pairing up with someone who is strong in this area can benefit you greatly. They likely have little secrets and tips that they themselves use as they navigate those moments. They didn’t magically become a shining example of self-restraint. They use a toolbox that they created to ensure their success. Take their toolbox. 
  • Add some space. This can be a small space of doing math in your head or counting to 10 when you feel yourself getting angry. You might need a larger space which translates into a better sleep habit or some time off from work. Add the space needed as the situation warrants. 
  • Learn from everyone you meet. This has been a key to my personal growth as I continue to strengthen this area. Observe those you come in contact and notice how they handle themselves in tough and challenging situations.  I learned from both ends of the spectrum. I try to emulate those that show restraint and stay focused in a conversation. I also try to get an understanding of how the person is able to accomplish that piece. On the flip side, I look to learn about the whys when a person can’t control themselves, take a mental picture of the behavior and then look to avoid that same behavior. 

Good self-management allows you the opportunity to be heard, respected and gives you the chance to build trust and relationships.

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH