Managers spend most of their days acting on behalf of six major tasks. According to classical management theory, five of them are planning, staffing, organizing, leading and controlling.

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In real life workplaces, self management is a sixth and unique task that demands regular attention. Managers who can’t manage themselves are hardly inspirations or role models for the people they are supposed to lead.

But it isn’t just for the sake of being inspirational or role models that managers must learn how to manage themselves. In a society that is increasingly data-driven, information overload can swamp them, especially when clients, bosses…

Vision precedes action and action precedes achievement in both personal lives and in management.

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Consider a simple example. Thoughts are usually visual and verbal. We picture going to work, we tell our spouse we are going to work, we drive to work and we get there. Vision, action and achievement.

This same simple process works in management planning. Any manager who goes through a budget process has to picture how to achieve the numbers and then verbalize that vision. A project manager does the same with the likes of future-focused Gantt charts and other tools. …

Compassionate leaders support employees who struggle with deep personal and family problems.

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They see their compassion as the right thing to do. They also understand that their compassion sends an important message to other employees: I care about you. This caring nature creates an emotional bond that motivates employees and gives them yet another reason to keep working for such a leader.

There also is a limit to how far compassion can go in the workplace because leaders have a responsibility to deliver results to the company. Consider the following real-life examples.

The Dying Employee

A new manager arrives at a business unit…

Memorable screwups offer painful lessons on what to avoid.

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Managers with good intentions will sometimes make serious mistakes. The memorable ones serve as painful reminders about why they happened and how to avoid doing them again.

Middle managers in particular will make mistakes from simple inexperience that impact only themselves and a small number of other people. Senior managers and especially executives make mistakes with a greater impact because of their greater responsibilities.

The following 10 mistakes come from real-life experiences and observations.

1 — Beware the too-big promotion.

Small and periodic promotions are low risk and easy to handle. A major leap into a much higher position comes with risks. They include ego inflation…

Work behavior includes facilitation, negotiation and compromise

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The best middle managers have five work-related skills that make them effective in their jobs. These skills aren’t always instinctive; with the right effort, anyone can develop them continuously.

Developing useful work-related skills is something that comes from both the daily experiences at work and how leaders and managers use their time outside of work. Middle managers who spend at least some time outside of work in ways that grow useful skills will more likely advance their careers. Efforts outside of work include volunteering and self education via books, networking, organizational membership, and certificates or advanced degrees.

Managers who spend…

Managers have three important personal capacities they use every day to survive and thrive in their environments. These resources are critical to their own self management.

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Companies use three core resources to produce their goods and services, according to classic economic theory. They are labor, capital and material. But the resources of a manager and other employees are quite different. Think of them as “tanks” like the gas tank of a car that fills and depletes according to the speed and distance that a car is driven.

A person I know said all of his “tanks” are empty when he…

Executives, small business owners and other ambitious people often throw every ounce of themselves into a career. But the average manager doesn’t have quite the same ambition.

He or she values a life outside of work, such as family, and isn’t willing to work 100 hours a week or more. For many managers, though, a 40-hour week isn’t enough.

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Instead, they will find a high level of productivity and a good balance between career and life by averaging a 50-hour week. That number has a sound basis in both reality and science.

The science behind the 50-hour workweek isn’t new…

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Website publishers who manage online advertising inventory will almost certainly grow more revenue than sites that don’t manage it.

The concept is easy for website publishers to overlook when so much else requires their attention.

Think of online ad inventory this way: Is it better to have a site with 100,000 page views a month and three ads per page or a site with 200,000 page views a month and two ads per page?

The first site has 300,000 ad impressions a month while the other one has 400,000 a month.

The choice is a no brainer

The second site has 33% more ad inventory and…

A “good manager” is someone who earns that label by understanding that it comes with time, maturity, experience and a dedication to learning.

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Although some people have a better knack for management than others, good managers don’t appear overnight. They get better over time; their win rate starts to go up. They start to get more positive feedback, which in turn motivates them to keep growing. The ones that do have the best chances at promotions and successful careers.

The Maturing Manager

Maturity in management is the result of memorable work experiences — especially the ones that are the highest highs and lowest…

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Leadership goals are most achievable when the information supporting those goals is current and accurate.

The full-year strategic management plan I finished during the annual budget process in November will undoubtedly require changes by January. During the two-month period between November and January, it is entirely possible that:

  1. Sales will increase or decrease more than expectations.
  2. Or a top department head resigns to take over a new job.
  3. Or a major client reduces or cancels a lucrative agreement.
  4. Or so many other possibilities.

Managers who set rigid goals and ignore our increasingly fluid economy risk failing to achieve their goals…

Scott S. Bateman

Scott S. Bateman is a journalist and publisher. He spent nearly 3 decades in management including 2 major media companies.

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