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.
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.