There’s been a lot of talk in the news about holacracy. It’s defined as running an organization where power doesn’t lie within a management hierarchy and decision-making is distributed throughout the organization. Holacracy relies heavily on autonomy.
Speaking of autonomy, years ago, I heard Dan Pink talk about his book “Drive”, which focuses on the three elements of motivation: autonomy, mastery and purpose. He said that you can’t manage engagement but if you self-manage that equals engagement.
With the focus on employee engagement, I totally get it. Fewer organizational layers is a good thing. Getting everyone involved in business decisions is great. But for self-management (holacracy, autonomy, or whatever term you want to use) to work, employees need to be given the tools to thrive in this environment. You can’t simply say, “Poof! You’re self-managing now.” and expect everyone to know exactly what to do.
So I thought it might be interesting to start a discussion on qualities of self-management. The first quality is knowing yourself. It’s about understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Being very honest with who you are. While we are subject matter experts at some things, we’re not all rock stars at everything.
There are a few ways you can spend time learning about yourself. I always say there are three ways to learn something – hearing it, seeing it and doing it.
- Ask for feedback. Talk with people who have a sense of your working style and ask them for feedback about your strengths and areas for improvement. If you don’t have anyone you can ask right now, think about prior performance appraisals you’ve received and use that feedback.
Once you get feedback, take the time to process and evaluate it. I’d caution people not to dismiss it immediately. You might agree with all of it, parts of it, or none of it. But think it through, make the decision for yourself, and then decide what you will do with the information. Consider creating a SMART plan to develop a skill or competency.
- Read books about developing strengths. One book on my bookshelf is Marcus Buckingham’s “Now Discover Your Strengths.” In the book, there is an opportunity to take an assessment that can help you define your personal strengths. Great way to create your path of self-discovery.
If you have ever taken any assessments in the past, this is a good time to take them out and review them. Consider the results and, like the process above, evaluate what you need to focus on moving forward.
- Step out of your comfort zone and do something you haven’t done before. For example, if you’re apprehensive about public speaking…go out there and volunteer to do a public presentation. Use the evaluations from the sessions to improve. Then do it again.
Stepping back to assess and evaluate our personal strengths and weaknesses is a valuable exercise for both our professional and personal lives. It allows us to keep focused and positioned to adapt as necessary.
In the next installment, we’ll talk about how self-management and our careers are intertwined.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby2