Applying professional management rules for self-improvement is a complicated task, yet it is not impossible to do it far from actual textbook methods. Approach to management has changed in the last decades. Some years ago, it used to be common that managers were treated like bosses superior towards the other employees. Nowadays, the approach is more humane, and the rules of managing a company are closer to those one could apply to manage oneself in everyday life, in particular planning, organizing, and providing leadership and control. As a result, people are faced with the task of being a leader to themselves instead of being their own bosses.
The first thing that a manager has to do is not only to create a plan to run a company, but fulfil its mission and vision at the same time. A similar step is often applied in non-professional environments. One could ask himself/herself: “Who do I want to be in one year” and that is the equivalent of setting a vision of oneself. The other question would be “Why do I want to do this” and it would be similar to setting a mission, usually to be a better person, get higher grades or impress someone. An individual at this point becomes a one-man self-managing company. Realizing one’s goals allows a person to take actions to achieve them. The plan that a self-manager has to create still has the same rules as the plan that a company would have. The point is not only to do everything to achieve the set goals, but also to keep the company operating. The same principle works in everyday life, for example, if one’s goal is to lose ten pounds before summer, spending all time in the gym is not a good plan. The person also has to sleep enough, eat healthy food and do physical exercises just like a company cannot complete its goals without staying profitable and providing financial support to the employees.
Once one has come up with a plan, it is time for organizing. The task of the manager in a company is to devise a plan of how to implement the company’s goals into employees’ job description. The manager will organize the workspace, so that the employees can work at their full efficiency without spending much time on learning new skills. Moreover, it is vital that an individual takes similar actions. In the abovementioned example, the person is trying to lose weight before summer and has already prepared a plan. However, there are still some aspects in the surrounding that are diminishing his/her efforts. In this example, the workspace could include such things as diet or means of transportation. There could appear a problem: on the way home from the gym, the person may drive by car to a fast-food restaurant thus bringing unnecessary calories to the organism. All the effort taken is instantly decreased or brought to zero. The self-manager will in this case need to organize his/her workspace in a different way – perhaps instead of taking a car to the gym he/she should jog there. Moreover, it would be advisable to take a healthy lunch in the backpack instead of eating unhealthy food on the way home. The assumption can be made that perhaps the person does not know what kinds of food are healthy or unhealthy, how many calories the food contains or how to read the substance values on food packaging. In this case, the self-manager will take another action, which is training. He/she will have to gain knowledge on the subject or perhaps contact a specialist, in this case a dietitian. A similar thing would happen in a company: if none of the employees is capable of teaching the others skills necessary to perform their job, an outside facilitator or trainer is hired.
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Once the plan is implemented and starts working, it is often sooner or later followed by a drop in motivation. The lack of motivation can cause a decline in efficiency or conflicts that pull the company away from completing its goals. There are multiple techniques that were implemented to increase motivation in companies and some of them are also applicable to self-managing individuals. When the approach to management is changed, one of the most important parts of this change is the switch of the role of the manager from being a boss to being a leader. Over the years, managers have noticed that a more humane and direct approach has a tremendous advantage over giving orders under threats of throwing people out. While the old methods were, in fact, successful in raising motivation, they diminished the satisfaction from work, made employees feel unsafe, and generated stress leading to even further drop of efficiency. The leadership approach gave managers an important tool of management – listening. By taking another look at the example of a person trying to lose weight, there are no obvious employees that could be pointed out, but there are, in fact, muscles that are performing physical tasks and the mind that is forcing itself to do unpleasant things to reach the goal. A self-manager cannot forget about the fact that his/her organism is the company that has its needs. After pushing one’s limits, it is important that they keep their motivation to continue working hard. A self-manager’s plan should include a reward and recognition pattern that will help with that.
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