How Leaders Can Grow Their Self Management Skills in Times of Change

Author: Lenka Grackova, reblog from ICF.

The world is changing, and many companies are applying new management techniques that focus on collaboration, collective intelligence and a greater individual autonomy. Companies are making these changes not only to react faster to ongoing transitions, but also to create a better, more fulfilled workplace.

However, creating such changes requires a lot of effort: new processes, new ways of working, new structures, and also a higher degree of self-management from each person.

The leaders’ challenge is to make all these changes happen in a way that creates excitement, rather than chaos and panic.

It requires leaders who have not only a good knowledge of change management principles and great communication skills, but also a high level of self-motivation, a great deal of perseverance, and personal purpose to make things happen.

Leaders need to demonstrate a great level of self-management themselves. Their stability and focus will stabilize the whole system and set a positive example for others.

One way leaders can further develop their self-management is with professional coaching. Professional coaches help leaders take a step back from their challenges and guide them through the process of creating a change. During the process, leaders can develop new positive habits and strategies on how to progress through changes with confidence.

Anyone who wants to grow their own self management skills or who coaches on self-management in times of change should focus on the following six areas.

1) Manage Emotions

Change and uncertainty often trigger emotions such as fear or anger. When leaders understand their own emotions and manage their reactions, they become more trusted by others. Leaders with high emotional intelligence bring empathy in their communication and connect better with their audience.

Tip to work on this area: How can you take a step back from emotionally charged situations and start observing yourself instead of reacting?

2) Set Your Own Goals

Some leaders do not set any goals when things keep changing because they want to see how the future will unfold. But as Zig Ziglar said: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

Even if the future is uncertain, leaders need to keep setting their own goals. Goals increase personal drive, clarity and focus. They provide directions when leaders need to make decisions.

Tip to work on this area: Even if you don’t know how things will evolve, what would be the ideal outcome in three, six or 12 months?

3) Assess and Plan the Way Forward

In a world full of changes, we tend to move away from detailed plans and Gantt charts. But having a high-level plan of five to eight chronological steps on how to get from now to the future is a must. Such a plan decreases complexity, allows for doing things differently, and forces leaders to make decisions on the best way forward.

Tip to work on this area: Make a plan on how you want to drive a specific change: simple, few steps, chronological. A plan is your strategy, not a shopping list of possible actions.

4) Hold Yourself Accountable

Great leaders and managers create a positive example: They hold high standards for others by holding high standards for themselves.

Leaders who hold themselves accountable find creative ways to find motivation and courage to do difficult things. They deliver on their promises—to themselves and to others.

Tip to work on this area: How can you hold yourself accountable to deliver on promises even if no one else checks on you?

5) Maintain Steady Progress

Creating a change is not a sprint, but a marathon. It can be easy to “lose your nerve” and start taking erratic actions when you do not see quick results. Shortcuts can undermine the real progress and can end up wasting time and resources.

Tip to work on this area: How can you validate that you are still moving in the right direction, even if you do not see immediate results?

6) Adapt to Reality

What is real, and what are just biased perceptions, wishful thinking or wrong interpretations of data? Do leaders perceive the world around them objectively?

In the current world, we need to quickly adapt to new technologies as well as to the new ways of working (remote work, flexible desks, self-managed teams, virtual teams, etc.). Practically, it means that every day we need to flex our habits. We need to unlearn what we used to know and learn new ways of doing things. Do leaders perceive their own behaviors objectively and know how they can adapt them?

Tip to work on this area: How can you stay flexible and keep adapting without losing sight of your big goals?

Focusing on these six areas will increase leaders’ capacity to deal with and progress through change in a more serene way.
The original blog post can be found at the link above.

© Copyright 2019 by Lenka Grackova


Lenka Grackova, ACC, will be exploring this topic more in-depth at ICF Converge 2019, which is taking place October 23-26 in Prague, Czech Republic. Join her session “The Rising Power of Self-Management” in the Build content group on Thursday, October 24 at 3:00 p.m. (local time). By attending this session, you can earn 0.25 CC/0.25 RD in Continuing Coach Education units.