by Ben Willmott
There are various self-management skills you can learn and develop, and most of them break down into three different areas.
- How proactive you are or using your own initiative
- Your ability to organize yourself whether that’s for your work or personal life
- Taking responsibility for the outcomes of your actions
Self-management skills are essential for how you live your life at home and work as everything you do flows through these three stages.
Examples of Self-Management Skills
- Being proactive and using your initiative by recognizing there is a problem at work that needs to be solved and taking the responsibility to resolve it.
- Or at home, you’ve noticed your partner is desperate for a break at the weekend after looking after the kids all week and you commit to helping out more.
- Your ability to organize yourself to deliver on an action when you’ve recognized a problem at work or home, and then put a plan in place to solve it.
- You can not only organize yourself but also those around you to be able to implement a positive change.
- Taking responsibility for the outcomes of what you do when a task hasn’t gone as planned. Then learning from the problem, itself so it’s not repeated in the future.
How to Demonstrate Good Self-Management Skills in a Job Interview
Research the company and the interviewer. This not only shows that you care about this job, but it can help with small talk pre and post-interview.
Being able to discuss how you approached your research on the company shows you have more to you than just being able to repeat a few facts the interviewer will already know.
Having examples of how you self-organize in your current role will give the interviewer confidence that you’ll not only be able to do the role but also potentially delivery more.
Discuss how you approach learning in and out of the workplace. This shows your interviewer that you’ll grow fast in your role and that you have potential.
Be open about how you manage stressful situations at home and work. Your interviewer will develop confidence that you can handle difficult situations.
How to Demonstrate Good Self-Management Skills to your Manager
First and foremost, the best way to demonstrate excellent self-management skills is by delivering on the actions you’ve been assigned.
Doing the job, you’re asked to do and being proactive about how you can do it better is a clear demonstration of excellent self-management skills.
Put yourself in your Manager’s shoes so you can start to think about what he or she might need from you.
Spot potential actions solutions to problems before your Manager asks you to show that you’re thinking about your work environment.
Volunteer to help to your Manager, especially if you recognize he or she is struggling with something. This also might allow you to work on something you may not have had the opportunity to do before.
How to Demonstrate Good Self-Management Skills to your Team
Be prepared. Every time you meet with your team or your manager make sure you’ve prepared for it.
By doing your homework, for example, learning about the topic you’re going to discuss, or having some prepared actions and ideas to bring to the conversation, you show that you’re organized and planned your time well
Facilitated meetings. Make sure you attendees are clear on the purpose of the meeting, what you’ll cover in that meeting and what they need to prepare for it.
Keep to the timings and agenda for the meeting, and always stop 5 minutes before the end to align on decisions and actions.
Support your team. The more you improve your self-management skills, the more productive you’ll be, meaning you’ll have more time for others. Offer support when and where you can to help your peers.
5 Approaches to Improve Your Self-Management
- Goal setting is a great way to give you focus in the short and long term. You can set goals daily, weekly, monthly and beyond to help you prioritize your work. Share your plans with your teammates and Manager.
- Weekly planning allows you to look at the week ahead and plan out the key activities you want to work on each day.
- Daily planning is the most effective way to stop procrastination in your workday. Plan out your priorities across the day by writing them down in 30-minute increments. The simple act of writing then down is like making a small promise to yourself and keeps you on track for your daily, weekly and monthly goals.
- Self-reflection is fundamental to improving your self-management, and when repeated regularly, you’ll start to see rapid improvement. Block out time every week to focus on what worked well and what didn’t for you that week.
- Taking feedback in addition to practicing self-reflection, be open about your weaknesses. Gather feedback from your peers. This will take your self-management skills to the next level. Receiving open, honest and constructive feedback allows you to improve faster and gives you a new and different perspective.
The Bottom Line
Developing your self-management skills is an ongoing process.
Recognize the moments when you think you could have prepared better or when you’re not feeling in control of what’s happening around you and learn from them.
Take notes, practice self-reflection, and you’ll quickly notice improvements, rather than repeating than the same mistakes over and over again.
Ben is Head of Agile Practices at the London based creative agency Karmarama where he creates bespoke ways or working for his clients and teams. His blog www.teambenwillmott.com specializes in coaching others on project management and how to be more productive and effective at home and work.