- July 11, 2017
- Posted by: Andrew Nguyen
- Category: Career Development
Self management is a career skill that has an infinite ceiling. As a result of having great mentors and managers throughout my short career thus far, I’ve been able to learn a few important tips on self management.
I define self management as a process of reflection and action. It’s a reading on the past, asking what can be done better, and a plan or action to make the necessary changes.
In this short post I reflect on what I’ve learned from working next to successful, motivated team members.
1) Regularly review focus areas
Nothing is worse than time wasted. Fast moving work environments or job roles that offer a lot independence can be a double edged sword.
Without dedicated and regular scheduled review time, it’s all too easy to go down the wrong path.
2) Always be receptive to constructive feedback
It can be rare to hear the truth but often times it is more beneficial to get feedback rather than be blind to our weaknesses. Never take constructive feedback personally and take it in stride. In the end the feedback turns into personal growth. If you are unaware of your weaknesses it is impossible to address them.
3) Compare yourself to yourself
Everyone has unique strengths and perspectives which can make comparison hard. It’s more important focus on developing into a better “you” than to aim to be like someone else. This will allow you to develop your competitive advantage.
4) Search out your knowledge gaps
Data is to the Information Age oil was to the industrial revolution. It’s all about doing something new in today’s workplace and the opportunities are there. Education is one pathway to discovering a new perspective or skill that enables you to kick off a new initiative.
5) Approach every job like a builder
Building a career is a lot like building a house. It requires a plan and it requires expertise. In order to build that house need to work with contractors and general managers who understand what is being done right and what is being done wrong. You likely don’t have all the electrical, framing and plumbing knowledge to do everything yourself. But you don’t need that to begin building a house. You need planning skills and this applies to work as much as it does to homebuilding.
6) Verify the relevance of what you’re learning
After developing a passion for learning it’s time to define the specifics of what you need to learn. This often easier said than done. What you need to learn depends a lot on what you’re trying to accomplish. And what you think you need to learn should be reflected on often. Are you learning something that truly has application to your life? Will the skills and knowledge be beneficial in the long term, or will it become outdated very quickly?
7) Regularly consider whether you are asking the right questions
To tell someone to ask the right questions isn’t a helpful piece of advice. What we need is a way to improve our question-asking abilities. While I’m not an expert in doing this, I have learned that pausing and attempting to get a new perspective on an issue is a good first step to allowing better questions to come to you. What allows you to get inspired? Is it reading a new book or blog? Is it taking a walk? Doing yoga? Chatting with a co-worker on another team? We allow ourselves to gain a new perspective by spending time away from a problem we’re trying to solve or project we’re trying to execute perfectly. Disengaging is often a perfect way to gain a fresh perspective and come back to the problem at hand with a better solution.
These are a few tips that I’ve learned thanks to being surrounding by people who inspire me to be a critical thinker and better self-manager.