For all their worth, it’s no surprise that these skills can’t be learned overnight. The ability to manage oneself requires a continued commitment to improvement. However, with a solid foundation of personal management skills to build from, the payoff can be enormous.

What are personal management skills?

Someone with good self-management skills understands their responsibilities and does what is necessary to meet them. But what does personal management look like?

Personal management is meeting the deadlines you set because you’re organised and realistic with your time. It’s about not making impulsive decisions based on emotions that will likely have a negative impact later.

It’s also about doing things that are good for you, like meditating and exercising, and knowing how to make decisions that align with your goals.

Lauren Oakes is the CEO of the global marketing agency Megaphone Marketing. Her decade of experience and success prove that having good personal management skills can truly make an impact.

‘Self-management is being aware of your emotions and instinctual response to a situation,’ she says. ‘It’s about having the ability to step back and assess the situation without letting your biases come into it. And being aware of how things like time management and self-care impact these abilities.’

7 examples of personal management skills

Self-management means a continual, conscious regulation of your thoughts and actions. But within this broad definition, other equally essential skills make personal management effective. Below, we take a look at seven core self-management skills.

1. Time management

Having control over how you use your time is a critical skill. Time management allows you to assess how much effort something requires and control how you apply it. For example, having your upcoming workload visually represented in a calendar or to-do list can help you anticipate how to best structure your day and ensure nothing slips through the cracks. In the world of business, being able to manage your time makes you reliable and efficient.

2. Stress management

Stress is always present at work. However, managing stressful situations and achieving the right balance of productive tension is the key. Stress management can include techniques such as meditation, exercise, psychotherapy and improving personal relationships.

3. Accountability

Self-management means holding yourself accountable. Accountability is firstly an acceptance of how your thoughts and actions contribute to positive or negative outcomes and secondly a commitment to learning from the process.

4. Goal setting

Goal setting and tracking lie at the logistical heart of success, as does the ability to share them with others. With personal management skills, achieving these goals becomes easier, but the ability to set achievable and purposeful goals is a skill that must be learned.

5. Self-motivation

We each operate with different internal and external motivations that push us towards our goals. This could be completing the daily tasks on our to-do lists or reaching more significant objectives.

Self-motivation is easier when goals are purposeful and clearly defined and when we experience a real sense of accomplishment for meeting them.

6. Self-care

As adults, we are responsible for taking care of ourselves. Whether this looks like going for a walk, meal prepping, journaling or just turning off our notifications —when we feel good mentally and physically, we are able to work more effectively. This is why self-care is vital for an effective leader, as it’s much harder to pour from an empty cup.

7. Emotional regulation

Emotional experiences are part of human life, even in our professional lives. It’s how we assess and respond to them that leaves a lasting effect. This ability to regulate and evaluate our emotions is essential to personal management, as it is to sustaining healthy working relationships.

How to improve personal management skills: 5 tips that work

Developing personal management skills is a lifelong pursuit of learning. As the road is long, self-management can be achieved more easily by implementing these five tips into our everyday lives.

1. Consider other perspectives

Think about how your emotions and actions might affect others. Reframe how you tackle problem-solving by focusing on the outcome rather than being the one to come up with a solution.

‘Having the ability to take a step back and see things from different perspectives gives you a lot more to work with,’ says Lauren.

2. Take care of yourself

Self-care means not overloading your schedule, making time for exercise and doing things that are good for your mental wellbeing. These activities help to improve morale and professional performance, as well as creating a healthier, happier mind.

3. Learn as much as possible

Challenge yourself by learning new things and setting goals for each achievement. Undertaking a postgraduate degree like an MBA can help you dive deeper into areas that interest you. The flexibility of online learning means you can juggle studying and working full-time while managing the responsibilities of everyday life.

4. Ask for feedback

Get proactive about being accountable for your actions. Learn about your strengths and weaknesses by asking for feedback from others. Lauren tells us more.

‘Normalise getting feedback from others and not just your direct manager. Ask for input on your areas of weakness and show others that you’re trying to grow and improve.’

5. Make organisation a priority

Organisational skills feed into many of the identified self-management skills. Assess the areas where your life might be lacking in organisation and seek to improve them. Create a schedule, clean your workspace and limit multitasking.

Why are self-management skills essential?

Each of these skills is beneficial in its own right. But there are other advantages to be had by developing personal management skills, including those that can be applied in professional and personal settings.

They encourage growth

Self-management skills ensure you’re always on a journey towards self-improvement. Whether it’s about pushing you to discover how to study online or achieving a personal best for a 5K run, these skills encourage you to go beyond your comfort zones.

They make you a better leader

An individual with solid self-management skills will be a better leader. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, high-performing managers were reportedly more self-aware than their average-performing counterparts.

They make you adaptable

With the ability to emotionally regulate, manage stress and take accountability, you’ll do better with change. You can adapt to new and challenging situations and see them for their learning opportunities.

They’re versatile

Self-management skills are transferable and can be applied in most personal and professional areas of your life. They’re relevant in all industries and professions, making them critical in every line of work.

Improve your personal management skills with an MBA

An MBA is a versatile qualification that will equip you with the skills needed to manage others and yourself — skills a manager should have. With well-developed self-management skills, you’ll find studying and working toward your career goals easier.

Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor and discover where an MBA could take you. We can assist with course providers, intake dates and entry requirements, so reach out to see what’s possible for your future.

Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor

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