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Now that the economy is improving, businesses are feeling under a lot of pressure to perform with less resources.

There’s a fear of taking on too many people in case things dis-improve again.  And those we do take on have some learning to do.  We’re afraid to turn away work in case more doesn’t come along so we decide we’ll manage it anyway even though our resources are stretched to their limit. This can put a lot of strain on you as manager. Not only do you have to plan the strategy, cope with the budgets, connect with the customers, you also have to manage and lead limited resources.

So, how are you managing?

Obviously knowing how to do all of these things is going to be critical but you also need to make sure you’re not spending all your time in the office. Taking time for yourself during this phase will be essential.  Time to have fun, get fit, keep healthy.  There is a lot of evidence to show that we operate better when we sleep soundly, exercise enough, eat healthily. Think back to previous managers you’ve had.  If you’ve ever had a manager who is snappy, too busy to listen to you, and dismissive of problems you bring to him or her, you’ll know how it feels. When you fly, the safety demonstration always tells you that if there’s a sudden drop in cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you – you’re advised to put your own mask on first before you help anyone else.  This applies equally when you’re managing others.

oxygen mask


Managers who score high on emotional intelligence are good at three core things:  1. Interpersonal skills 2. Personal management skills 3. Emotional skills. They understand their feelings and emotions, know how they feel at any given time and why.  They are also super aware of the effect those feelings have on the way they operate. They are cognisant of the way their feelings affect others, and understand how their teams and their colleagues feel in different circumstances which helps relationships.  They are also good at managing themselves – their time, health, well-being and their energy.

So how about you?

When did you last stop running on that treadmill long enough to realise you’re in constant fire-fighting mode? Do you take stock regularly to see where your energy levels are at? One useful strategy is to put a regular weekly calendar entry for a meeting with yourself.  Even a half hour per week to see how you’re doing, check to see if you’re doing the planning work that will benefit you and the company long-term and not just doing the day-to-day fire-fighting.  Did you manage to get out of the office at least twice this week by 6.00?  Are you sleeping soundly and exercising at least twice during the week? Are you stepping for lunch every day – even for 20 minutes and getting away from your desk?  If you are answering “no” to these questions – its time to make some changes.

Start managing yourself before you try to manage anything else.

  Lynda Byron is is an accomplished Leadership Development Specialist. Most of her time is spent helping organisations to identify and develop their key talent through innovative and challenging development programmes, as well as individual coaching. Lynda is the Programme Director for the IMI Diploma in Management. [post_title] => Are YOU managing you? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => managing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 20:49:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 20:49:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 51432 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2020-08-24 15:53:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-08-24 15:53:37 [post_content] => [post_title] => 7 Takeaways from Leading in a Virtual World [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 7-takeaways-leading-in-a-virtual-world [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-09-02 11:47:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-09-02 11:47:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Anna Connolly

Anna Connolly

30th Oct 2020

IMI Associate on the Professional Diploma in Organisational Behaviour and Professional Diploma in Organisational Development and Transformation

Related Articles

A Fixed or Growth Mindset? What it Means for Your Organisation
Are YOU managing you?
7 Takeaways from Leading in a Virtual World

The Challenge of Collaboration

One positive outcome from the global pandemic has been the stories of collaboration.  

Back in February Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson and Johnson, announced.   

“We are collaborating with regulators, healthcare organisations, institutions and communities worldwide to help ensure our research platforms, existing science and outbreak expertise can be maximized to stem this public health threat.”

The search for the vaccine has seen unprecedented global collaboration among the scientific community and we are now thankfully beginning to see the first successful results of these collaborative efforts. Collaboration is clearly a useful strategy for solving big problems but what are the strategies that we can take as business leaders to foster collaboration in our own organisations?   

One key factor in successful collaborations is uniting people behind a compelling goal for mutual benefit. This causes us to put aside our personal goals and affiliations if they are conflicting. “Leaders need to craft a compelling goal that makes people commit to a cause greater than their own individual goals. A good goal must have a common result, must be simple and concrete, must stir a passion and place competition on the outside.” This was one of the key factors identified by Professor Morten T. Hansen in his book Collaboration.  The search for a vaccine certainly fulfills the criteria of a compelling goal. 

Collaboration in the workplace is a process, where people work together in a way that maximises individual contribution while leveraging the collective intelligence of everyone involved. It is the way in which a group of people collectively explore ideas to generate solutions that extend beyond the limited vision of a single person. 

If we take a musical analogy co-operation and teamwork are akin to playing sheet music in an orchestra where we know our part and the result is reasonably certain whereas collaboration is like playing improvised jazz.   

By collaborating we can generate solutions beyond what we can come up with individually, but this work can be labour intensive, is less structured and involves sharing our knowledge and resources. It also often means creating new social norms around how we operate. Therefore, it makes sense to think strategically about what projects you want to encourage real collaboration on.  

When collaboration works it creates synergies or what researchers have termed “Collaborative advantage”. When collaboration does not work, collaborative activities can be frustratingly slow to produce output and also generate conflict. Collaboration works best where innovation is needed, to generate greater sales, operational efficiencies and to solve big problems that transcend organisations and borders.   

As well as a compelling unifying goal key factors necessary for collaboration at an organisation level include trust, culture, design, and structure. 

Trust in this instance is vulnerability. People need to feel that they can express concerns they have, can ask for help, and can voice their opinions without fear of criticism.  

Under design it is important to consider how we manage communication, decision making and conflict. Key in the collaboration to find a vaccine has been the sharing of knowledge. For example, among the scientific community over 137,000 viral genomic sequences of Covid-19 have been shared via GISAID an online database.

Under structure, leaders can look to having the right people involved. Here the right people will include people with the requisite professional expertise for the problem to be solved and structure also refers to creating networks across and outside the organisation.  

It may be the case that humans do not only collaborate because we are smart, but we are smart because we collaborate and this is one evolutionary advantage that we need to make full use of to solve the challenges ahead.   


Johnson and Johnson, 2020. Johnson & Johnson Launches Multi-Pronged Response to Coronavirus Global Public Health Threat. [Online]
Available at:

Hansen, M. T., 2009. Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big Results. s.l.:Harvard Business Press.

GISAID, 2020. GISAID database. [Online]
Available at: