What are your most valuable strengths? That’s easy, right? How about asking yourself “what are your most dangerous weaknesses? Where do you belong? These three questions are the launch pad for self-management. This can’t miss podcast is a must listen for anyone who is in a position or finds themselves in a position to lead a company, a division or a group of employees. Enjoy.
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Manage Yourself – Harvard
I’ve been looking forward to podcasting on this one for a little bit of time. It’s on managing yourself. I’ve been doing a deep dive into Harvard Business Review articles and books on managing myself because there’s a phrase, “Eagles don’t flock.” As I’m going to cover in this podcast, the bigger a leader becomes, the less input they receive. The bigger a leader becomes, the bigger the company, the bigger the following, but the more likely they’re going to have to be very proactive to seek out that input. I want to start with Peter Drucker, who I believe will go down in history, at least so far, as being considered the greatest business manager of our time. Drucker says when it comes to managing yourself, there are some questions that you need to ask yourself. First and foremost, “What is your most valuable strength?” That is the first and foremost, most important question you ask yourself on a regular basis.
Second, what are your most dangerous weaknesses? I’m going to ask you to ask you to write the phrase, “What are my most valuable strengths?” Write them down. I want you to write down your most dangerous weaknesses. When I did this, it was very eye opening how I knew them but I certainly didn’t focus on them and I have certainly never taken an action step to avoid them.
His third question is, “Where do you belong?” When it comes to leadership, where do you belong? Do you belong leading, meaning, do you belong leading other leaders? Do you belong following, meaning? Are you in a phase of life? Like Christopher Columbus says, you go through three phases. You first learn, then you earn, then you ambassador. The same goes if you’re climbing a corporate ladder or if you’re growing your own business.Sometimes you belong leading other leaders, but sometimes you belong following other leaders and sometimes again, no matter how big you or your company becomes, you belong executing the following of other leaders or executing a project and not leading or following at all.
It’s a deep spot, but you got to ask yourself where do you belong. A lot of people seek out advice on leadership and they quite frankly don’t belong leading anybody, even themselves. They belong executing a task because once that task gets finished, they can then open themselves up to begin leading again. Drucker is all about helping people understand that you got to play the position you’ve been given right now or that you’ve given yourself to its completion. Then he says, “Be responsible for your relationships.”
Let’s say you have a boss. Did you know that you have to manage your boss? Let me give you an example. I asked someone to do a project. This individual, to say hair-on-fire busy would be an understatement. The cliché that this person was busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest would be an understatement. Now, I would be his boss. Had this person understood that he should manage his boss, he would’ve understood what he should have said to me when I gave him one more project was, “Okay, Ken.Here are the 58 projects you’ve already given me. Which five or six of these would you like me to pause to put this one big one in?” Instead of saying that, I would have then said, “Sorry.Let me give this to somebody else.” He said, “You’ve got it. I’ll take it on,” and then I followed up two to four weeks later and he had not even begun the project and yet I was the one that was convicted because I shouldn’t have given it to him. I realized that, but he also should have understood, he should have been managed his boss. He’s following a leader right now, but he wasn’t playing by the rules.
Finally, manage yourself. You’re going to manage you, your people, your boss even, and your peers. You’re going to manage time, but you have to manage yourself, and what does that mean? This isn’t Drucker talking. This is a collection of people from Harvard Business Review, as was the last one of manage your boss. You’re going to keep room in your bucket. You’re going to keep time leftover in your bucket and you’re going to keep energy leftover in your bucket. What am I saying? When you’re managing yourself, if you fill yourself to the max, if you work from 6:00 AM to midnight, seven days a week, just on the surface, doesn’t that sound insane? You have to eat.You have to sleep.You have to have a social life.You have to communicate with other people outside of your work environment quite frankly, or you will go to the loony bin. You have to keep room in your bucket for time.
It’s not an accident that for over 1,000 years, people have studied the power of a vacation. The reason companies willingly give people weeks of vacation is because they tried it the other way hundreds of years ago where they would just work them 52 weeks a year and the mental sanity of their people would rear its ugly head.Meaning time off equals more production. I have podcasted in the past how I was seat-belted to my chair one day when we had a brand new pastor come into our church. He said, “All you entrepreneurs, raise your hand. All you managers raise your hand. I know you don’t know me from Adam, but the very first sermon I’m going to preach to you leaders in this audience is this: Do you rest from your work or do you work from your rest?” Everybody thought for a minute and a lot of people are shaking their head back and forth. They didn’t really understand what he was saying.
Then he goes, “Let me just save time. None of you in this room rest from your work. If you’re an entrepreneur and a visionary, all of you work from your rest.” He goes on to say, “Do you really think when you’re going at it sixteen hours a day, you can hear the subtle voices of God or the world talking to you? Can you even hear your employees’ feedback? Can you hear anything?” He goes, “All great visions,all good insight, all good knowledge that pours into people, pours into people during periods of rest.When they’re resting, they can listen. When they’re resting, they can hear.” The famous book is called Think and Grow Rich. It’s not called Think and Grow Rich. You don’t sit down, read the book and grow rich. You read the book, then you go, “What Napoleon Hill is saying is you think, you listen, then you act. You think and grow rich.” Managing yourself is about keeping part of that bucket of time open and not filling the bucket all the way up.Then you keep the bucket of energy open and you keep energy so you can have time off. You keep energy available for your spouse. You keep energy available for your kids. I dare you to try it. Otherwise, if you are not keeping time for others or yourself and you’re not keeping energy for others of yourself, I challenge you to continue doing that and see if you don’t burn out and fry yourself. For episode 333 on Managing Yourself, there are a series of nuggets all pulled from Harvard Business Review articles and some of the greats like Peter Drucker. I hope this helps. Take care.