Self Managment 101
What would you think about a manager who only shows up during crises—often caused by poor management? What about a manager who sleeps most of the time? A manager who complains that the stuff he wants isn’t getting done, but doesn’t take time to diagnose the problem and find solutions? Or even offer help? A manager who doesn’t offer to coach? A manager who rarely does post-mortems to analyze failures, but just shrugs and complains?
I would say that’s a pretty sucky manager. And I would say that’s me, managing myself.
I’m a really good crisis manager. So good that I realized, years ago, that I would often create crises so I could show how good I was. I also do a good job when I am managing other people. I look in on them. I check what they’re doing. I suggest improvements. I look for opportunities to teach them to do better. I will lead post-mortems to help them—and me—learn and improve.
With me, managing myself, not so much.
When I’ve been under pressure I’ve done a good enough job self-managing to have developed automaticities that are highly competent. But my automatic behavior does not always get me what I want. And when I don’t get it I—-well, I complain.
If I want to improve (and I do) I need to self-manage. So, what could I do?
My first thought, which may end up being my proposed solution is to set a timer and when it goes off, I need to stop what I am doing, and to put myself in “manager mode.” In manager mode, I need to look back over what I had been doing for the past time period, and…
Maybe ask myself how I thought I had done. Maybe look at what I had done and ask myself what I could have done differently that would have been better. Point out things that clearly need Improvement. Maybe give myself a pep talk. Pick one of the things I would have done if I had been managing someone else, and do that.
Maybe after doing that for a day or so pop up another level. Be the manager of my manager and find out from my manager how it’s doing.
It’s 8:00 AM now. As a manager to myself, I know that I am likely to procrastinate and not post this. So I think this is a good opportunity for an initial managerial intervention, to see if I can get this out by 8:15.
And then to report, tomorrow, whether this has been successful.
It’s 8:25. So before I post this (which I will, I promise) a quick post-mortem.
Yes, I did get it out, close to on time. Yay!
No, I didn’t get it out when planned.
Because even though I had set a target time, I did not respect it initially. I procrastinated.
But setting the target time did help.
So set targets. Like the next check-in will be at 9:00.
For which I need to set a timer.
Just as soon as I post this.
No, before I post it.
Done, and done.