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  • The Most Difficult Management Challenge: You!

    Posted on September 25th, 2009 Nelson Bodnarchuk No comments

    I’ve found that no matter how difficult it seems to manage a team, managing oneself is the most difficult management challenge of all. Being objective towards yourself is next to impossible when when you really think about it. Put another way there is an immediate and inherent bias and error with your internal gauge when measuring your own performance. I find that there are extremes, at times I forgive myself for offenses that I’d never accept in others, while other times I’ll hold myself to impossibly high standards of performance setting the stage for failure. To avoid such extremes, one must approach the task of managing oneself as if they were managing someone else.

    The Golden Rules for Managers, by Frank McNair, offers the following suggestions for self management:

    1. Focus on your weak points: admit to yourself where you’re most likely to fail. Identify your shortcomings and surround yourself with people whose talents will help compensate for what you lack in these areas. Continue to grow, in order to mitigate your weak spots until they become areas of strength. Avoid focusing only on your current strengths, this will limit your potential for success.

    2. Set a deadline and reward yourself only if you meet it: the next time you have to complete a difficult less than exciting project, become your own boss and get it done! Set a due date for completion and offer a performance based incentive, such as dinner at a fancy restaurant or show. You’re likely to achieve the goal if the payoff for reaching the objectives is clear, use SMART goals (Specific Measurable Attainable, Realistic and Timely).

    3. Keep Positive, the more negative you become, the less effective you become: in the heat of an argument, we have all said and done things that, if given the option, we wouldn’t choose to repeat. You’ll never meet anyone who thinks better and makes better decisions when they’re angry (With the exception of Ron Hextall). Refuse to allow yourself to react to a situation in a compromised state of mind, this can damage valuable relationships. Remember that, as a manager, you don’t have to get angry in order to give feedback.

    4. Don’t skip holidays: in 20 years, the only people who will remember that you didn’t take your vacation will be you and your family, who will recall feeling shortchanged by your excessive devotion to business. Take time off to experience the joy that comes only from being with your loved ones. You’ll also return refreshed, energized and bring new insights to the table.

    5. Fire yourself if required: at some point, many people find that they’re in a job that is not satisfying. Most people stay due to a fear of change. That can happen even if the job is CEO and it’s your own company. If you reach this point, you should “fire” yourself—either by finding a way to fire yourself up with renewed enthusiasm for the work, or by actually firing yourself from the job. If it’s the latter, you need to find a job you like better, whether within your own company or elsewhere, and then attack it passionately. You only live once and in life there are no dress rehearsals, so spend your time doing something that you love doing. If you do you’re more likely to enjoy life more fully and make a positive difference in those around you.

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