Managing “in” – yes, it’s a thing!

Traditionally, management has been about managing downwards – leading and supporting a team of people to the achievement of a shared goal. More recently, we’ve heard of managing up; informing and guiding the ideas of more senior people. But what happens in flat structures, or remote working environments, where management of others isn’t really necessary, and the management required, is management of self? Is managing “in” the next generation of management?

Is self-management the same as self-mastery?

The short answer is no. Self-mastery entails practicing and perfecting your craft and honing your focus to generate productive results. Self-management is about managing your time and outputs, prioritising tasks, and making day-to-day decisions about your work. Self-mastery should be the goal of every employee, whereas self-management might not be necessary is all contexts. In my experience, self-management is most necessary in small teams, emerging companies, or remote work environments where the Big Boss might not be around very often.

How to do self-management well

In the absence of clear guidelines from a senior manager, it can be difficult to know what to work on, and how to work on it. Here are a few tips to manage your workload and get your job done.

  • Set daily, weekly and monthly targets so that you know what you need to accomplish
  • Hold yourself accountable to those goals by writing them down and tracking your progress
  • Reward, or congratulate yourself when you achieve your goals
  • Reflect often and intentionally on your work to identify gaps, obstacles, and areas of improvement
  • Give yourself feedback by returning to a completed piece of work after a period of time and reviewing its strengths, weaknesses and how it has contributed to your overall job
  • Invest in your growth by pushing yourself to do your job better, don’t just view your job as a to-do list
  • Make sure you are giving yourself the opportunity to learn something new every week
  • Join an online forum, tweetchat, or community of practitioners in the same field as you to share insight and stay connected to changes in your field

One of the most meaningful steps you can take to managing yourself is to make use of the services of a career coach, whose insight and encouragement can keep you on track. Reach out to us at to find out about how we can support you.

Posted in At the office.