Supporting Self-Management in The Workplace

Self-Management in The Workplace

February 15, 2020   - 

There are a lot of examples of what self-management isn't. Some believe they can label themselves “self-managing” and they’re finished. By only wanting the benefits without doing the groundwork, you may cause more harm than good. If you are curious on how to do it the right way keep reading.

It’s Not You It’s…Me?

If you are the leader of a team wouldn’t you want everybody to need little to no supervision and deliver on the targets set before them? Of course you would. How you get there is the question that needs an answer. The answer is create the right environment for self-management.

If the environment for your team is suboptimal, do not expect your team to do more than what they can. Yes, I am saying your team's performance is your responsibility. But you knew that, right? Once you create the right environment and maintain it, you’re good. I promise.

Creating An Environment That Fosters Self-Management In The Workplace

In order for this to work we will make two assumptions  - you have hired the right people and employees do not want to get fired. There are three things that need to be in place for this environment to allow self-management. Defined goals, training, and open communication.

Defined Goals and Plans

When you and your team understand where they are trying to go; the people involved will typically work to get there. A common mistake is confusing a vague idea as a real plan and expecting others to make an investment in something they can’t see or believe can be done.

Examples of plans that need to be well defined:


Making sure that you and others have the skills and resources required for current and future tasks is important. When people don’t know how to do something expecting them to do, it is nearly impossible. If you are the leader of a team investing in training is a display of the value of the relationship.

Examples of when to look for training needs:

  • One on one session (if you are not meeting with your team regularly now, you should start)
  • Performance appraisals or performance reviews
  • During plan creation (goals, performance objectives, and projects)

Open Communication

Being open to accepting and providing feedback not only improves morale, but opens a typically untapped information source that may help you enjoy more journeys.
Think of it like when you take a vacation and someone you know is familiar with where you are going. They may suggest places to see or places to eat which you may have not known of. When you arrive at your destination, you take their recommendations and can experience your vacation in a different way beyond your initial plans. What also happens is you have strengthened your connection with the person who shared the information with you.

Examples of how to open the doors for communication:

  • Provide a weekly update/recap to your team (cover: what went well, what would you change, and what did not go well)
  • Give team members ownership in part of your team meetings
  • Attempt to respond appropriately when people have questions
  • Find out the best way to communicate with each team member

What Are the Benefits of Self-Management in The Workplace

Making the same two assumptions -  you have hired the right people and employees do not want to get fired, there are long-term benefits that work for both sides (employer and employee). There are two that are worth noting. Reduced employee turnover and increased accountability.

Reduced Employee Turnover

People leave companies, and hopefully when they do it is for an opportunity that you cannot provide - that’s okay. When that is not the case; you can normally trace their exit to a missing self-management foundation. By having a solid foundation you can fix issues and make improvements where needed for current and future employees.

Increased Accountability

When your team is clear on their responsibilities and have access to the resources needed to accomplish them life is good. You and your team can now shift more of your attention to activities that create growth and less time putting out fires. Yes, you will still have to stay in sync on the progress toward fulfilling responsibilities, but if issues arise there will be less surprises.