Our friends at Wikipedia define management as the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively. They note that management comprises planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling a group of people or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. The real gem in their definition is that they suggest that the pre-requisite to managing others is to first learn how to manage one’s self.
As a kid I remember my parents telling me, “Do as I say not as I do” and expecting me to listen to them. I, like most teenagers of that time, or for that matter now, didn’t really feel that my parents knew what they were talking about anyway so I never listened. Today I see the same scenario playing out in the workplace daily. Managers’ telling their employees what is needed to be done in order to be efficient and effective at their job and then not listening to their own advice. A manager who doesn’t plan their daily schedule or organize their work environment certainly hasn’t learned how to manage themselves and will fail at managing others.
I’ve always felt that a good manager will lead by example, training others how to be efficient and effective through the processes the manager is using to plan and organize daily activities. Today managers have a considerable number of tools that weren’t available when I first came onto the management scene. During my early management years a day timer was an essential piece of my management arsenal. It allowed to me efficiently and effectively manage both my business and personal life by faithfully entering appointments and activities. My day timer was so much a part of me that I was lost without it. Today, with computer programs to help with scheduling I’m able to keep myself organize via my desktop computer, laptop or smart phone. I have learned that by using these tools I can manage myself. If you aren’t utilizing these tools to help you manage your time I strongly suggest you research them and find those that will work for you.
Once a manager has learned how to plan and organize their time they must than learn how to organize their environment. I’ve always believed that everything has a place and everything should be in that place but in the work environment that
is not always possible. Albert Einstein quipped, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk a sign?” I don’t embrace the notation of keeping the work environment void of essentials, only void of non-essentials. The process of efficiently and effectively performing a task is to assemble all the essential elements for that task and placing them in an easily accessible location within the environment. Once the task is completed those elements should be put away, the work environment cleaned up and new elements assembled for the next task. In essence, prepare to do the task, do the task and then clean up after yourself prior to setting out to do the next task. As a manager if you can discipline yourself to organize your work in this way you will be able to convey the same discipline to your employees. By learning to manage yourself you will be more efficient and effective managing others.