This article focuses on managing yourself as a leader. There are times when leaders need to manage themselves, and perhaps recharge and realign.
I don’t know about you, but I have experienced times when I have been discouraged, disappointed, and my motivation was not where it should have been. In those situations, I just wasn’t in the game, and needed to reengineer my approach to find motivation. As I’ve noted in other articles, I have collected publications on personal motivation and management. Here are my top five sources on managing yourself – and a bonus source.
Having a Successful Mindset
To achieve a successful mindset, we need to pay attention to how we are thinking and feeling about self-worth, competence, and confidence. The conversations we have with ourselves are important. First up is managing self-talk and planting “seeds” that are positive and inspiring. Next is setting the tone and your sights by having intentions and goals to help push us out of our comfort zone. This will help us move toward success. Grit, passion, and perseverance are next, and they set us up to have sustained energy and drive. Having a strategy to segment and manage goals is the next action. Lastly, ensuring execution, chunking out actions, and follow through is vital.
My application of this strategy is by using a daily affirmation: “Everything I need is streaming toward me!” Some people practice the act of saying “I am open to what this day will bring.”
Developing Habits for Mental Strength
In this publication eight habits are outlined. They include:
- Be willing to learn,
- Be willing to adapt,
- Be a giver,
- Think outside the box,
- Believe in yourself,
- Be responsible,
- Be self-aware, and
- Assume control to overcome distractions.
Another similar source notes we should: plan each day with purpose; step outside the comfort zone; be surrounded with smart people; focus on the big picture; take action; don’t take no for an answer; and never stop learning.
These suggested habits show up in my personal practice of asking “what am I meant to learn from this?”
Learning to Manage Ourselves
Here the focus is on knowing our strengths and weaknesses. We should be familiar with our underlying values (what we stand for), how we like to work and interact with others, and the type of work environment where we are most effective. Knowing these things about ourselves will position us for our greatest contribution and success.
My application of this practice is to make a list of what’s bugging me and to outline what is important, and things that I can control or minimize, can live with (ignore), or can change or overcome.
Practicing Emotional Intelligence
This publication focuses on what makes a leader – the use of “emotional intelligence” or “EI.” To be emotionally intelligent, we should try to do these things:
- Be self-aware of strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and impacts upon others,
- Be able to self-regulate to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods,
- Possess motivation, appreciation of achievements (even if small), and have optimism,
- Demonstrate empathy and understanding of others’ emotional make up,
- Cultivate the ability to develop others, and
- Develop social skills, persuasiveness, rapport, and capacity for team building.
These are great action items! I am still working on many of them.
Taking Actions for Those of Us Who Don’t Have Time to Care for Ourselves 
This article is for those of us who think we don’t have time to “stop the presses” to self-manage. Important processes for us to try are (these should be achievable):
- Practice gratitude when washing our hands,
- Journal and write notes on our reflections for a few minutes each day, and
- Exercise for three minutes each day.
I have been reminded that: it is okay to not feel okay, to slow down to take care of ourselves, and to find some learning amidst each challenge.
I’ll end with the bonus – a list of dog-like things we humans can do to improve our world (as part of managing ourselves).” They are:
- Greet family members exuberantly when they return home, simply because they’re home.
- Play as if no one is looking.
- Snuggle whenever possible.
- Never shy away from showing genuine excitement.
- Roll in it if you really want to. Worry about the consequences later.
Here’s to finding our individual ways to “roll in it” (perhaps with some modification of #5 above) as part of managing ourselves.
 Peter Drucker, “Managing Oneself,” Harvard Business Review, January 1999.
 Daniel Goleman, “What Makes a Leader,” Harvard Business Review On Point, Summer 2014.
 Minda Zetlin,“Walmart and Salesforce Execs Follow Arianna Huffington’s 60-Second Rule. So Should You,” Inc. Magazine (online), June 27, 2020, available at www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/arianna-huffington-60-second-rule-microstep-walmart-salesforce.html
 Scott Craven, “What to Do If Dog Traffics in Danger,” The Arizona Republic, September 27, 2015.