The Importance of Self-Management for Leaders!

Self-management for leaders is a newer leadership buzzword but it is based on long-standing best practices of time management, personal management, values-based leadership and leading by example.

When I speak to this executive competency in my coaching practice, I include the following traits and behaviors:

  • Ethics – Integrity – Trustworthiness
  • Values-based leadership
  • Ability to manage time & prioritize personal schedule and calendar
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptiveness
  • Leading by example
  • Reliability
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Accessibility and leading/managing by walking around (LBWA or MBWA)
  • Inclusiveness
  • Openness
  • Diversity champion
  • Self-care

I will highlight a few of these below. I’ve written about a couple of these traits and behaviors before and I feel they are worth repeating.

Time management. The speed in which today’s world moves, along with the speed in which we communicate poses new challenges for leaders. Leaders need to be adept at managing their time – to be able to prioritize, focus, and balance during very hectic, fast-changing environments. While leaders used to have more time to plan and control their environments and rely on good administrative assistance, now environments change quickly, and leaders need to be able to make changes on the fly mostly by themselves. Leaders who can organize themselves quickly, manage their calendar, stay on top of things and maintain focus amidst the noise and distraction are in top demand.

PREMIUM CONTENT: MSP Market Developments

Reliability. I’ve written about how leaders are role models and how what you do and say matters. Leaders who practice good self – management also understand that following through on what you commit to is the real test. Being reliable. Showing up when you say you are going to. Calling into meetings on time. Communicating your availability and top priorities so colleagues understand when they have access to you, what your schedule is and that they can count on you delivering in those areas. When you do what you say you’re going to do, colleague’s trust deepens in you a leader.

Leading by walking around. I love this practice and used to practice this weekly in my C-level role. This is the idea of walking around facilities, stopping to speak to colleagues and asking them for insight into operations, sales and/or cultural questions around the work environment– there really is no limit to what you can talk about. The idea is to engage spontaneously and be open and available to these opportunities for feedback and input. I always came away with renewed personal energy, with greater insight into the workplace environment and fresh awareness of issues and opportunities that may have presented themselves. This is also a really good way to be accessible to all colleagues. If you lead remote colleagues – a different spin on this is to hold weekly virtual calls with random colleagues from remote locations – to also be available to them and seek their input or feedback. This is a very valuable practice on many levels.

Self-care. I define it as the discipline of being able to set personal and professional boundaries and follow a disciplined approach to work-life balance. Leaders cannot give what they don’t have. Full stop. If leaders do not attend to themselves, care for themselves and allow others to do the same, something else will give way. Creating a sustainable leadership self-practice is about balance and discipline.

Have a look at the list of traits that fall under self-management – are you showing up in these key areas?

Click here for some more of my thoughts on leadership.


Sandra Hokansson

Sandra Hokansson
Sandi Hokansson is a certified executive-level coach and principal of SoundLeadership. Reach her at sandi (at) soundleadership (dot) ca.

Sandra Hokansson

Share This Post


Recent Articles

Powered by ·