The Art of Managing Oneself

19 February 2014 | Articles

We need to know our strengths in order to know where we belong.” – Peter Drucker.

It used to be that managers and professionals spent most of their careers at one company. Now, in an increasingly global marketplace, managers need to develop their skills even as companies work to attract and retain talent. As Peter Drucker wrote in Harvard Business Review, “…Knowledge workers must, effectively, be their own chief executive officers.

By LZ Nunn, Director of Management Programming at Boston Global

Management begins with who you are as a person

Managing yourself means understanding your strengths and needs and building influence through good relationships. In fact, authors Linda Hill and Kent Lineback point out in their book Being the Boss, “Management begins with who you are as a person.”

“How people experience you,” says Genet Jeanjean, Managing Director of Boston Global, “is critical to the kind of leader you can be, and the results you can deliver.” Are you someone who can influence others and generate value for the company? If you are, you’ll be in demand.

To develop the art of managing oneself, e-Core team leaders used several knowledge-building tools. First, managers took the online Myers Briggs Type Indicator test to learn about personality types and better understand differences among diverse team members. Then Boston Global administered the Birkman Method questionnaire – an occupational interest assessment that measures behavioral strengths, motivations and career profiles. Through meetings with Boston Global coaches, e-Core team leaders gained tips to help manage expectations and stress behaviors to better lead and motivate their teams and were introduced to a Leadership Toolbox focused on providing them with skills, tools and frameworks to better serve e-Core’s clients. Finally, the Harvard ManageMentor online learning platform now provides critical tools that help team leaders develop skills in a wide range of topic areas – from goal alignment and strategic planning to innovation and creativity.

Creating a strong network

Early career success often comes through specialization in a specific functional domain, but advancement requires the ability to influence others. How do we gain influence? It’s more than being liked. Hill and Lineback suggest that when people believe in your competence and your character, people will trust you. Managers need to demonstrate technical competence, operational competence and political competence. These competencies don’t mean you need to be an expert or a politician. They mean you need to know what to do, how to apply what you know and how to function effectively within a network.

A manager can gain influence by creating a strong network. Networking is really about building relationships. If you have various levels of relationships, you will have influence because you have people to call when you need help. And they can call you for the same. It goes both ways.

“More and more, people are working in global teams,” says Genet Jeanjean of Boston Global. “They need to collaborate on formal and informal projects from various parts of the world. A foundation of trust and a strong network of good relationships are essential for managing oneself.”

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