There are many qualities that make an effective leader, and none alone can truly be said to be sufficient, although there are many that should be seen as necessary. One of these essential leadership characteristics is the ability to self-manage. While you don’t have to be at the top of your organization—founder, president, CEO, chairperson, etc.—to be a leader, managers, directors, vice presidents, and other leaders are expected to have the ability to manage themselves to a large extent. They must be organized and effective in order to lead by example.
In an article for CNBC, Daniel Goleman lays out what he sees as four essential characteristics of a successful self-manager.
1. Emotional Balance
Leaders shouldn’t blow up at staff, lose their cool, or get ruffled—especially in front of their staff. While everyone gets frustrated at work from time to time, leaders should set an example of composure. They need to be the rock their staff sees staying calm when crises set in.
2. Achievement Orientation
“Achievement Orientation means we strive to meet or exceed a standard of excellence,” writes Goleman. “We look for ways to do things better, set challenging goals, take calculated risks.” Leaders must be the goal setters of the group. It’s not enough to sit back and maintain the status quo. If the leader doesn’t manage the goals of the group, it’s unlikely anyone else will step up to do so.
3. Positive Outlook
Businesses often face challenges and crises. Just as leaders need to remain emotionally balanced and not lose their cool, they also must put on a brave face in the face of adversity. The leader must project confidence and optimism.
Change is a given in virtually any industry. Change is not only inevitable as new technologies, new competitors and new tastes impact the business climate but change is also a ladder of opportunity. Leaders that can adapt and effectively respond to change will help guide their organizations to success.
In order to effectively manage others, it’s important to be able to manage oneself. If you are unable to keep control of your own schedule and work habits, it will be very difficult to manage a team or an entire organization.