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What is self-management? (7 skills to improve it)

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Self-management is your ability to regulate behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a way that better serves you and your work. Learn the 7 most important self-management skills to become a better leader.

It’s certainly not easy, but self-management can be learned. And it’s worth doing—as you improve your self-management skills, you’ll naturally grow as a leader. From the top project management skills to your own personal development, we’ll go over what self-management is and the seven soft skills to develop it.

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What is self-management?

Self-management is your ability to regulate your behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a productive way. This means excelling in both personal and professional responsibilities for the benefit of yourself and your team.

[Inline illustration] What is self-management? (Infographic)

Effective self-management leads to better emotional intelligence by supporting your self-awareness and well being. This means staying on top of social cues and respecting your own personal needs.

Self-management is an important leadership quality that doesn’t always come naturally, but with the right tools and practice, you can develop. Let’s dive into the top seven self-management skills to develop. 

What are the 7 self-management skills?

Developing self-management skills requires a certain level of self-awareness—you need to know yourself before you can regulate yourself. Start slow and embrace the process, remembering that these skills are ongoing.

Skill 1. Time management

Time management is when you control how you use your time. This means prioritizing your most important tasks first and managing your daily to-do list . A leader who has good time management skills can manage their time effectively without the need for external help.

Having good time management skills can help you stay engaged and avoid procrastination . As a leader, time management allows you enough time to both stay on top of your own work and empower others to do the same.  

Skill 2. Self motivation

Self motivation is your ability to get motivated and proactively accomplish daily tasks. It takes a certain level of personal responsibility, but practicing self motivation can help you become more self-aware and prioritize what's important to you.

[Inline illustration] Self motivation (Abstract)

This is similar to intrinsic motivation , which is motivation that comes from within. Like self motivation, intrinsic motivation stems from a variety of personal factors. For example, your internal motivator for volunteering could be that it makes you feel fulfilled. External motivators, on the other hand, are influenced by factors outside yourself. For example, working faster because you’re scared of the repercussions if you work slower.

Enjoying the work you do is an important part of staying motivated and engaged throughout your workday. Plus, liking the work you do can help you inspire your team to do their very best. To practice internal motivation, work towards goals that excite you and fuel your sense of purpose.

Skill 3. Stress management

Leaders often deal with stress, but to be good at self-management you need to embody healthy stress management. Without stress management, you can suffer from overwork and, eventually, burnout .

Leaders with good stress management skills approach work in a focused manner by connecting their initiatives to larger goals. When you know which task is most important and how project deliverables are tied to team goals, you can better prioritize work and will likely feel more fulfilled doing it. Engaging with your work in this way is a form of self-care, and it can help reduce your stress levels and keep you level headed.

Skill 4. Adaptability

Being adaptable means you have the confidence and ability to pivot when changes arise. This is especially important for leaders who work in a fast-paced environment where project changes occur often. 

For example, imagine a new project comes up that’s a higher priority than the one you’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks. Instead of becoming stressed or frustrated, you can adapt to this change and move forward with openness and curiosity. This is an important skill to have to maintain flexibility.

While being adaptable may be uncomfortable at times, it can make you a great leader as you have the ability to tackle anything that comes your way.  It also empowers your team to do the same.

Skill 5. Decision making

To be effective, it’s essential for leaders to develop decision-making skills that reduce confusion and increase team empowerment. Problem solving and addressing issues can help you grow your decision-making skills. 

Like all the skills we’ve looked at so far, decision making is something you can learn. Start by sharpening your critical thinking skills and learning how to analyze key information when problems arise. And use data-driven decision making to ensure your actions come from data rather than guesswork, so fewer issues will arise down the road.

Skill 6. Goal alignment

Setting goals means you prioritize the most important projects that have the highest impact on your business. 

This means being able to see the bigger picture and knowing what’s best for your team members and organization. In the long run, this will generate better results and boost team morale .  

Goal alignment consists of three main skills:

Goal setting. When goal setting, be sure to identify current pain points, forecast growth objectives, and analyze your current resource allocation plans —all of which can help you set informed goals. Use the SMART goals framework to make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Goal communication. Not only does this involve managing your team’s goals, but it always involves aligning them to your organization’s overall goals. That way,  your team members understand how their work ladders up to larger objectives. This requires transparent communication and aligned teamwork .  

Goal tracking. Not only is it important to set and communicate goals, but it’s also important to track them. This is critical for connecting daily work to larger goals and seeing how your team is progressing over time. 

Skill 7. Personal development

Personal development is key for all team members, but especially for leaders. In order to build your team’s knowledge, you first need to build your own.  This means taking the time to attend workshops, take courses, and connect with industry experts to develop your management skills.

This means taking the time to attend workshops, take courses, and connect with industry experts—all of which can help you develop your management skills. 

By continuing to develop your skills, you can empower your team to do the same. Not only does this mean individual career development, but it also means growth for the good of the company. 

Examples of self-management

Analyzing examples of self-management in the workplace can help you understand the skills you need to develop and embody healthy self-management. 

These examples involve refining the way you see yourself in order to develop strong self-esteem. Here are some examples of self-management to better understand how you can empower yourself to be a better leader in the workplace:

Example 1: Setting goals and aligning them to the larger picture.  

Team lead Daniela Vargas wants to increase returning customers by 10% this year in order to meet her organization’s growth goals. To start, she writes up a business case and schedules a meeting with the head of operations and product development. During that meeting, Daniela walks the department heads through her plan to rebrand an existing product line that hasn’t performed well in the past. The leaders agree to the plan and Daniela gets to work to develop a detailed work breakdown structure . 

Example 2: Stress management and time allocation.

Ray Brooks starts his day by going through his daily to-do list. He notices he has a few tasks that need to be completed and an overdue task that he didn’t get to yesterday. He also gets a meeting invite for a new project that is flagged as a top priority. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and frustrated with the tasks on his plate, Ray goes to work to reorganize his schedule. Critically, Ray realizes that he can’t get everything done that day. To get his best work done, he prioritizes the new project meeting, since it’s a top priority. He then spends the rest of his day tackling his high priority tasks while maintaining the quality of his work. Instead of working all night, which Ray knows will stress him out and take away from his family time, he decides that his least important tasks will need to wait until the next day. 

In both of these situations, the leader made rational decisions based on what was best for themselves and their teams. They were quick to make intelligent decisions while considering their own well-being in order to get good results. ​

Managing your behaviors and emotions

Managing your thoughts and behaviors can help you become better at self-management and, in turn, stronger as a leader. By streamlining your individual organizational systems, you’re proactively working towards becoming the best leader that you can be. 

Learn additional ways to support your team with work management software. From increased productivity to team visibility, effectively managing your work doesn’t have to be challenging. 

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What is self-management?

Why is self-management so important in an organization, 7 skills to increase your self-management capabilities, 12 tips to sharpen your self-management skills, final thoughts on self-management.

Self-management is a critical workplace skill. This article explores a self-management definition, and tips to improve your self-management skills.

Self-management is our ability to manage our behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a conscious and productive way. 

Someone with strong self-management skills knows what to do and how to act in different situations. For instance, they know how to control their anger when the umpire unfairly calls their child out at a little league game. They know how to avoid distractions while working from home , so they can maintain focus and stay productive. They know what they need to do to achieve their fitness goals — and they follow through.

Self-management means you understand your personal responsibility in different aspects of your life, and you do what you need to fulfill that responsibility.

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Self-management and its relationship to emotional intelligence

This self-management definition has its roots in emotional intelligence theory , where this capability may also be referred to as self-regulation. Self-regulation is supported by our capacity for self-awareness , which helps us create conscious access to our thoughts, desires, and feelings. Only once we are aware of these things, can we begin to control and express them appropriately.

Those with well-developed self-awareness and self-regulation are well-positioned to develop a set of self-management skills that support them on their work and personal journeys .

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From an organizational perspective, the ability of team members to self-manage is critical to the effective functioning of an organization. Imagine an environment where the majority of those working within it were unable to stay on task, on strategy, and on schedule. That would make it very challenging to complete projects.

Self-management is even more important when we talk about empowering employees across the organization to be more innovative and resourceful. When every team member understands their responsibilities, goals, and what it takes to achieve them, they can make better decisions and do their part to achieve the team and organization objectives . Part of effective self-management with empowerment is that employees make good decisions about when to seek additional help or input. 

Do you ever catch yourself staying up late to watch one more episode of your favorite TV show, even when you know you have a busy workday ahead? Have you ever missed a deadline because you pushed off a big project for too long? Have you ever become frustrated at one of your direct reports for not completing a project according to your guidance?

These are all signals that you may need to work on your self-management capabilities. Self-management can be learned and refined by mastering these related skills:

  • Role clarity. Those with role clarity know what our responsibilities are, who our work matters to and how we are measured. We also know who we are dependent on to get our work done. In short, we have a good sense of how we fit into the system and how our work serves the organization. Let’s follow the story of Ibrahim as an example. Ibrahim is a product manager for a software provider. He knows that his job is to develop product plans and strategies to address the needs of the market, and the products he creates affect the success of the sales team. He also knows that his team doesn’t build the products, so he is dependent on the development team to translate his functional requirements into products.
  • Goal alignment: Organizational success relies upon team members working together to reach a common goal . In order for this to work with a team of self-managed individuals, each of us must understand the big picture, and align our own goals with those of the organization. This will allow us to stay on track and maintain sight of what we’re working toward. In our example, Ibrahim connects with his executive team and learns that the key strategy for the year is to move “upmarket” into the enterprise space and investment funding is to be focused on this new capability. Ibrahim then knows that he must understand the unique needs of that market and begin to develop a plan to create new functionality to address them.
  • Strategic planning. The next skill in this progression, strategic planning, is the ability to understand what we need to do in order to support organizational goals. We work backward from the desired future state in order to determine what we need to do in order to get there. For example, Ibrahim creates plans to work with marketing to set up customer focus groups, assesses his team’s resourcing and skills for fit, and engages with technical architects to understand any scaling limitations within the platform.
  • Priority-setting. Now that we know what we need to do, we need to set priorities so we can achieve our goals. This can help ensure we get to the most important tasks and projects, even as other demands on our time arise. In our example, Ibrahim sets his priorities and decides he needs one day each week for the next three months to get through the first phase of his plan. To accomplish this, he blocked off time on his calendar to work on this project, and he pushed out less important projects by communicating with stakeholders. 
  • Self-awareness. The ability to consciously access our thoughts, desires, and feelings can help us control our behaviors. This, in turn, can have a direct impact on our performance, and how others perceive us. For example, as Ibrahim works through his plan, he begins to notice some anxious feelings within his body and finds himself ruminating at night. He begins to sense his “ ego attachment ” to the opportunity to succeed in the eyes of others and a sense of worry about whether he is the right person for this project. 
  • Emotional regulation. Being self-aware of our feelings is a prerequisite to regulating them. For example, fear can be distressing and provoke a fight or flight-type reaction if we aren’t able to elevate it to our consciousness. Ibrahim’s self-awareness allows him to understand his fear that he may not be the right person for the task at hand. He’s able to overcome this emotion by thinking rationally about his strengths and how they apply to any market segment. This allows him to refocus on what he does best, and work through his discomfort.
  • Self-care. The only person who can truly be responsible for our care is ourselves. Thriving as an individual starts with nurturing ourselves. Many of us carry ingrained beliefs that serving others is our calling, or self-sacrifice is noble, and thinking about ourselves is selfish. The fact is, we need to be at our best to do our best and if we don’t practice self-care , we begin to erode our capacity to contribute. How many of us have hit a “tough stretch” at work where we put in 80 hours a week for several weeks, only to find our clarity of thought and productivity declining? For Ibrahim, he had been through this before. Big work assignments had created an imbalance in his life before, so he knew going in that he had to create a structure for himself by planning time for exercise, and to use proven techniques for him to be able to leave open tasks at work in order to allow time for family. He replaced “selfish” with “self-ish”.

Even those with strong self-management capabilities can falter now and then. Perhaps you didn’t get much sleep last night, and let your emotions get the better of you at a team meeting. Or maybe you got so bogged down in urgent tasks, that you lost sight of what was truly important. It happens to the best of us.

Here are some ways you can sharpen your skills and improve how you self-manage.

  • Keep your promises. There are two parts to keeping your promises. First, do what you said you would do (DWYSYWD). It creates trust with others and within yourself. Second, be careful what you say yes to. Your job is not to be a hero. It is to stay focused on your role and to work to your strengths. Know your boundaries, but apply compassion as you hold them.
  • Align to the right level of engagement. Appropriate engagement varies from the executive table to individual contributors. There is a continuum from strategy to execution that moves from “why” to “what” to “how”. Keep your focus on the right point for your role. As a middle manager, for example, your job is to translate the “why” of strategy into the “what” of discreet projects. It isn’t your job to figure out how to do those projects.
  • Focus on what you can control. No matter how good the plan we make, we are not in control of, or responsible for, everything that happens around us. What we are in control of is how we respond to the impact of these circumstances. Fred Kofman , the author of Conscious Business , likes to ask “how are you response-able?” What is the best action you can take right now?
  • Be a player, not a victim. If you begin to feel things like “this isn’t fair” or “why didn’t they meet the deadline?” you are likely seeing yourself as a victim. How can you move from victim to player? A player works with intention rather than being controlled by external events. They can often find themselves engaged more productively by evoking a coaching stance, being creative to propose solutions, or respectfully challenging the status quo.
  • Know who you are (and who you aren’t). Keep an inventory of your strengths in mind, and as you plan your work, assign yourself work that fits these strengths. The corollary here is that you also know what you aren’t good at, which means finding others who are. For example, I’m aware that I am strong in looking at the new requirements and building solutions to address them. I am poor at (and disinterested in) fixing things already in use, so I always look to have a trouble-shooter around me.
  • First things first. If we have a good plan we know the critical items we have to get done. We also know that there will be many demands/requests for our time helping others meet their objectives. We need to stake out time on our calendars for our work first, while still allowing enough time to be supportive of others and to stay in tune with the organization. By doing this, you control which items of lesser priority get your time.
  • Meetings with yourself. Make time for yourself to stay on plan. At a minimum, set time aside for a one-hour weekly meeting where you take stock of progress, catalog problems, notice opportunities, and update your plans for the next week, month, or quarter. If taking work home with you is a problem, you might do this daily to “check out” of the office so you know where to pick up in the morning.
  • Nurture yourself. You can’t do your best if you aren’t at your best. Know that you will be most effective if you eat well , focus on physical wellbeing, and get at least seven hours of sleep daily.
  • Take breaks. It is very easy to get caught up in work, and being tied to your desk is counterproductive. Taking breaks allows time to release stress and recharge . Get creative: visit a colleague, get some water, go out for a walk in nature, or call your partner. Just get away from work for a few minutes several times a day.
  • Practice mindfulness. Introduce the habit of mindfulness and meditation into your day. When we enter a state of meditation, it is just as helpful to our brains and bodies as sleep. Spending 5-10 minutes, a couple of times each day, can create new energy for us.
  • Avoid “coveting.” Coveting is defined as a yearning to possess or have something. When we do this, we attach our happiness to future outcomes which can provoke feelings of stress in the present about achieving those outcomes. Keep your energy in the present, knowing that good work now leads to good outcomes later.
  • Don’t multitask. The idea of multi-tasking has somehow been given a badge of honor. The fact is that human minds don’t work that way. We are wired to do one thing, and then switch tasks. Switching tasks requires energy to refocus, so the more we do it the more time and energy we waste.

Self-management is a critical workplace skill that we can all improve. We’re only human, after all. Take some time to consider in what ways you excel at self-management, and where you might improve. 

Stay conscious of your thoughts, desires, and feelings as you go through your day, and take note of those you need to work on. Acknowledging the need for improvement is a big step toward attaining it.

Lead in: Self-management is a critical workplace skill . This article explores a self-management definition, and tips to improve your self-management skills.

Abstract: Self-management is a critical workplace skill that can—and should—be developed. Learn what it is, and how to improve your own self-management skills.

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50 Examples of Self-Management Skills

self-management examples and definition, explained below

Self-management refers to your ability to regulate your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in different situations and towards achieving personal goals.

It is primarily used in two contexts:

  • Healthcare and elderly care: In the caring industries, the term is used to describe patients engaging in self-care activities that maintain their health or manage their conditions.
  • Personal and professional development: Self-management in this context is about achieving success, goal-setting improving productivity , and achieving progress.

Understanding self-management means recognizing it as a combination of skills such as time management, decision-making, healthy behaviors, stress management, and self-control.

Self-Management Examples

1. Time Management Time management involves planning out how much time to spend on specific activities. By successfully managing your time, you’ll be able to optimize your time and increase your overall productivity and effectiveness in any tasks you do.

2. Goal Setting Goal setting is the process of identifying tangible objectives you want to achieve to feel successful. A person who can manage themselves well is able to set goals themselves, perhaps through a SMART Goals framework . They don’t rely on others to set their goals. Furthermore, they will be able to track their progress toward their goals.

3. Prioritization Prioritization is the act of arranging tasks or situations according to their relevance or importance . It ensures that your valuable resources (namely, time and energy) are effectively utilized. For example, you might prioritize your most important tasks for the start of the day when you feel fresh.

4. Healthy Eating Healthy eating involves the consistent intake of a balanced diet that provides essential nutrients our bodies need. Vital to self-management, it supports overall physical health, boosts the immune system, and improves mental well-being. If you don’t take care of this, you could become physically unwell.

5. Daily Exercise Daily exercise refers to engaging in physical activities regularly, such as walking, jogging, cycling, or doing yoga. We need to make this a habit in order to maintain our physical strength, balance our moods, and boost our overall health. Incorporating daily exercise into your routine paves the way for a healthier lifestyle, promoting longevity.

6. Positive Habits Positive habits include practices that contribute meaningfully to personal growth and holistic well-being, such as maintaining regular sleep patterns, practicing mindfulness, or giving time for recreation. They play an essential role in self-management by enhancing mental health, improving self-esteem, and cultivating personal resilience.

7. Quality Sleep Quality sleep refers to getting enough deep, restful sleep, which is vital for the body to regenerate and recover from daily activities. As a key factor in self-management, it enhances cognitive functions , promotes physical health, and regulates mood. Ensuring quality sleep forms the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, benefiting both your physical and mental well-being.

8. Healthy Moderation Moderation is the practice of avoiding excesses in behaviors and consumption, ensuring a balanced lifestyle. An essential aspect of self-management, it promotes health, prevents unhealthy habits, and sustains well-being. Living in moderation ensures you avoid the pitfalls of overindulgence, supporting a balanced, healthy life.

9. Decision-Making Decision-making is the ability to make smart choices by identifying and choosing alternatives, ideally based on your values and preferences. A person who is effective at self-management can, firstly, make decisive choices, and secondly, make choices that help them reach their long-term goals .

10. Problem-Solving Skills Problem-solving involves finding solutions to difficult or complex issues. This critical self-management skill allows you to address challenges effectively, promoting progress and growth.

11. Self-Motivation Self-motivation refers to the inner drive to achieve, produce, develop, and keep moving forward. A cornerstone of self-management, it helps you maintain focus and persistence in the face of obstacles.

12. Emotional Intelligence Emotional intelligence is the capacity to understand, manage, and effectively express your, and others’, emotions. It significantly aids in self-management by improving interpersonal relationships and managing your own emotional state.

13. Stress Management Stress Management includes techniques and strategies to handle stress effectively. With this skill, you can maintain balance and continue to function well even under pressure. The key is to making sure you get enough relaxation that you don’t burn out, which would dramatically decrease your productivity.

14. Self-Discipline Self-discipline involves the ability to stay on-task and consistent in your behaviors, even when you don’t feel like it. It is crucial for self-management as it enhances focus, efficiency, and fosters habit formation.

15. Accountability Accountability is the acceptance of responsibility for your actions. As a core aspect of self-management, it fosters trust and credibility, while also increasing personal and professional growth.

16. Self-Awareness Self-awareness refers to the awareness of your own thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and motivations. You need the awareness of yourself before you can achieve management of yourself.

17. Assertiveness Assertiveness refers to the confidence to express your needs, desires, ideas and feelings in an open, honest and respectful manner. This skill is key in managing your own affairs and preventing you from being waylaid by others. But remember, effectively using this skill means you need to be always respectful and seek out fairness for all, not just treating others unfairly.

18. Delayed Gratification You need to be able to delay your own gratification in order to achieve longer-time ambitions. For example, if you want to lose weight, you need to delay eating until dinner in order to achieve your big, overarching, ambition (rather than succumbing to the instantaneous desire to eat that snack!)

19. Self-Assessment Self-assessment is the process of evaluating your own skills, qualities, and performances. As a self-management skill, it fosters continuous learning and improvement by recognizing your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth.

20. Active Listening Active listening refers to fully concentrating on a speaker, understanding their message, responding thoughtfully, and avoiding distraction. This self-management skill assists in gaining a deeper understanding of situations, improving relationships, and making informed decisions.

21. Tailored Communication Tailored communication refers to the action of changing how you communicate in order to suit the needs of your audience. For example, you might need to simplify your explanations for a novice. This is all about managing your own message to achieve your goals.

22. Selective Attention Selective attention refers to the ability to direct your attention towards a specific task, excluding all distractions. These are vital self-management skills that enhance productivity and efficiency and to keep out any extraneous information that’s not necessary for achieving your goals.

23. Adaptability Adaptability is the ability to adjust swiftly to new conditions, tasks, and individuals. A core aspect of self-management, it enhances problem-solving, decision-making, and resilience.

24. Self-Care Self-care involves activities and practices that you undertake to relax, rejuvenate, and maintain your health. It is crucial to self-management as it supports mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

25. Resourcefulness Resourcefulness is the ability to cope with difficult or unexpected situations. We often teach this to students as a fundamental skill in self-management: e.g. “see if you can answer this question yourself before approaching the teacher.”

26. Proactivity Proactivity implies initiating changes rather than reacting to events. Without this skill, you’ll likely fall into procrastination and not sufficiently manage your own to-do list. Proactivity boosts productivity and reduces stress by allowing you to control situations to your advantage.

27. Personal Branding Personal branding is the conscious effort to create an impression of yourself in the eyes of others based on how you present yourself in-person, on social media, and so on. It’s an essential self-management skill as it helps differentiate you in professional settings and aids in career growth.

28. Networking Networking is the process of interacting with others to exchange information and build professional relationships. As a self-management skill, it enables career development through opportunities, collaborations, and knowledge sharing.

29. Multitasking Multitasking is the ability to handle more than one task simultaneously. While it’s debated whether multitasking actually achieves greater productivity, it can occasionally increase productivity in situations where tasks are not cognitively demanding.

30. Learning from Experiences This refers to the willingness and ability to learn from mistakes, errors, and other experiences, and subsequently apply that learning to perform successfully under new or first-time conditions. In terms of self-management, this skill enables you to be adaptable, solve new problems, and embrace change.

31. Initiative Initiative is the drive to step forward and take action without explicit instruction , seizing opportunities that others might miss. This capability fosters proactive behaviors, encourages innovation, and prompts you to take charge of situations, thus opening more doors for success. With initiative, you’re not waiting for opportunities to come to you – you’re seeking them out, demonstrating leadership, and driving your improvement.

32. Independence Independence is the ability to complete tasks and make decisions without reliance on others, emphasizing self-reliance. The trait underpins self-management as it enables you to take control of your life, make important decisions independently, and carry out tasks effectively without needing constant supervision.

33. Introspection Introspection involves examining and reflecting on one’s own mental and emotional processes for the purpose of self-understanding. By practicing introspection, you can identify areas in need of growth, align your actions with your values, and foster a healthier relationship with yourself and others.

34. Patience Patience is the capacity to tolerate delay, difficulty, or annoyance without getting angry or upset, and wait for things without frustration. In self-management, patience plays a paramount role, encouraging thoughtful decision-making, reducing stress, and contributing to maintaining positive interpersonal relationships.

35. Ethical Judgment Ethical judgment involves making decisions based on moral principles, standards, and values. This quality is fundamental to self-management because it guides behavior, fosters accountability, and enhances credibility in both professional and personal capacities.

36. Reliability Reliability is a trait that defines a person’s consistency in delivering results and sticking to commitments. It is a crucial self-management skill, as it builds others’ confidence in you, so you need to know how to do it! By being reliable, you are trusted to keep your word, strengthening your personal and professional relationships.

37. Growth Mindset A growth mindset is characterized by the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed through dedication, hard work, and the love of learning. It is a fundamental part of self-management, as people with this trait will continuously learn and improve throughout your lifetime.

38. Receptiveness to Constructive Feedback Receptiveness to constructive feedback involves the willingness to accept and implement feedback to improve personal or professional effectiveness. It’s related to self-management because you need to be able to take on feedback in order to improve yourself and constantly become better .

39. Self-Promotion Self-promotion involves strategically showcasing and communicating your skills, accomplishments, and personal brand to others. If you master this skill, you will open up new opportunities for yourself, boost your own visibility, and ultimately achieve career and personal advancement.

40. Organizational Skills Organization involves creating order and structure in various aspects of your life. It is vital for effective self-management as it optimizes productivity, reduces stress, and helps in achieving goals.

41. Task Delegation Task delegation is about assigning responsibilities to others based on their skills and capabilities. It’s a management skill that is crucial for leaders, and while it appears more like a group management skill, it’s at core a self-management skill for leaders as well, because task delegation is needed for leaders in order to get all of his or her projects complete in time.

42. Attention to Detail Attention to detail relates to the ability to carefully observe and consider all elements of a situation or task. This skill is paramount in ensuring quality, avoiding your own unforced errors, and ensuring you don’t miss important information.

43. Resilience Resilience refers to your capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It allows you to adapt to adverse situations and continue to make progress towards your goals, even when barriers and obstacles are placed in your way – which will, of course, happen to us all!

44. Flexibility Flexibility is the willingness to adapt to new circumstances, changes, and unexpected events. It’s one of the more difficult tasks because most people like consistency and predictability. Nonetheless, this skill of flexibility allows you to adapt to changing circumstances in order to meet your goals.

45. Hydration Hydration is the practice of maintaining an optimal level of body fluids by consuming suitable liquids, primarily water, throughout the day. Integral to self-management, it ensures bodily functions operate efficiently, promotes cognitive health, and aids in digestion. By staying well-hydrated, you help your body perform effectively, thereby maintaining your overall health and well-being.

46. Mental Health Care Mental health care involves cognitive, emotional, and psychological well-being practices, such as regular therapy, mindfulness, or relaxation exercises. Properly caring for your mental health allows you to better manage emotional upheavals, promotes a positive outlook, and contributes to robust overall wellness.

47. Regular Check-Ups Regular check-ups involve routine medical examinations to monitor overall health and detect any potential health issues early. An essential self-management practice, it allows for preventative care, ensures timely treatment, and provides peace of mind. By scheduling regular check-ups, you actively take responsibility for your health, keeping potential risks in check and ensuring a healthier lifestyle.

48. Avoiding Harmful Substances Avoiding harmful substances means steering clear of materials or indulgences that negatively affect health, such as fast food, sugar-loaded drinks, or excessive caffeine. By avoiding harmful substances, you are making choices that safeguard your health and boost your overall well-being.

49. Mindful Eating Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating, observing how the food makes you feel and the physical hunger and satiety cues it triggers. By eating mindfully, you learn to listen to your body’s needs, which can lead to better nutritional choices and a healthier lifestyle.

50. Regular Movement Regular movement, beyond structured exercise, means integrating physical motion into your everyday routine, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking a bit farther to increase walking steps. Through prioritizing regular movement, you incorporate healthful habits into your routine, ensuring improved physical well-being, energy levels, and mood.

Self-management forms the foundation of personal and professional success. By optimizing qualities such as time management, goal setting, critical thinking , and adaptability, among others, we find ourselves better prepared to navigate the complexities of modern life.

The benefits of self-management extend to improved decision-making abilities, increased productivity, heightened emotional intelligence, and overall enhancement of one’s life quality.

Whether in overcoming personal obstacles or propelling professional growth, the skills associated with self-management prove to be indispensable. Therefore, nurturing and honing these skills should be an ongoing commitment, offering not only immediate advantages but also serving as a lasting investment for future triumphs.


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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Essay on Self Management

Students are often asked to write an essay on Self Management in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Self Management

Understanding self-management.

Self-management refers to the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations. It involves setting personal goals, making plans, and then working towards achieving them.

Importance of Self-Management

Good self-management skills are crucial for success in life. They help us control our actions, make wise decisions, and stay focused on our goals. They also help us cope with stress and overcome challenges.

Ways to Improve Self-Management

Improving self-management involves setting realistic goals, planning your time wisely, staying organized, and maintaining a positive attitude. It also involves practicing self-discipline and persistence.

In conclusion, self-management is a vital life skill that helps us achieve our goals and lead a productive and fulfilling life.

250 Words Essay on Self Management


Self-management, a cornerstone of personal growth, refers to the ability to regulate one’s thoughts, behaviors, and feelings to reach personal goals. It encompasses a broad array of skills including time management, emotional regulation, self-motivation, and decision-making.

In an era of rapid change, self-management is crucial for adapting to new environments and challenges. It enables individuals to take responsibility for their actions and decisions, fostering personal growth and independence. Moreover, it enhances productivity by helping individuals prioritize tasks and manage time effectively.

Components of Self-Management

Self-management is composed of several elements. First, self-awareness involves recognizing one’s strengths, weaknesses, and emotions. Second, self-regulation encompasses managing disruptive emotions and impulses. Third, motivation involves the drive to achieve goals, even in the face of adversity. Fourth, empathy, understanding others’ emotions, is key to maintaining relationships. Lastly, social skills, managing relationships to move people in desired directions, are vital.

Developing Self-Management Skills

Developing these skills requires practice and patience. Self-reflection, mindfulness, and feedback from others can enhance self-awareness. Emotional intelligence can be improved through practices like meditation. Motivation can be fostered by setting challenging yet achievable goals. Empathy can be enhanced by active listening and open-mindedness. Lastly, social skills can be developed through teamwork and communication.

In conclusion, self-management is a critical skill in today’s fast-paced world. It empowers individuals to take control of their lives, fosters personal growth, and enhances productivity. Through continuous learning and practice, we can enhance our self-management skills and navigate life’s challenges more effectively.

500 Words Essay on Self Management

Introduction to self-management.

Self-management is a crucial skill that pertains to the ability to manage one’s time, emotions, behavior, and thoughts in a way that promotes personal growth and success. It is a multidimensional concept, encompassing a broad range of capabilities such as self-control, self-assessment, self-motivation, and self-regulation.

In an increasingly complex world, the ability to manage oneself is becoming more important. Self-management enables individuals to take control of their personal and professional lives, leading to increased productivity, improved relationships, and enhanced well-being. It’s the cornerstone of emotional intelligence and a key determinant of life satisfaction.

Self-management comprises several key components. Firstly, self-regulation is the ability to control one’s emotions and behaviors, especially in challenging situations. This skill is vital for maintaining emotional balance and making rational decisions.

Secondly, self-assessment involves evaluating one’s strengths and weaknesses, setting realistic goals, and monitoring progress. This is critical for personal development and achieving success.

Thirdly, self-motivation is the ability to inspire oneself to take action, even in the absence of external rewards or recognition. This intrinsic motivation is a powerful driver of perseverance and resilience.

Self-Management and Academic Success

In the academic context, self-management skills are paramount. They enable students to organize their study time effectively, maintain focus during lectures, manage academic stress, and stay motivated despite challenges. These skills correlate strongly with academic achievement and are often more predictive of success than intellectual ability alone.

Developing self-management skills involves conscious effort and practice. It starts with self-awareness, understanding one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Regular self-reflection can help identify areas for improvement and devise strategies for change.

Goal setting is another crucial aspect. Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals can provide direction and motivation.

Moreover, honing emotional regulation skills, such as mindfulness and stress management techniques, can help manage negative emotions and enhance well-being.

In conclusion, self-management is a vital skill in the 21st century. It empowers individuals to take charge of their lives, enhances personal and professional success, and contributes to overall well-being. By developing self-management skills, we can become more resilient, productive, and satisfied in our endeavors. In a rapidly changing world, self-management is not just a skill, but a necessity.

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self management skills essay

Self-Management: The Art Of Making Yourself More Valuable At The Workplace

Tom was a brilliant student who landed a good job at a reputed marketing agency. But that’s when the problems…

Self Management: The Art Of Making Yourself More Valuable At The Workplace

Tom was a brilliant student who landed a good job at a reputed marketing agency.

But that’s when the problems started.

Though he was excellent at academics, he wasn’t punctual or efficient at work. While his lethargy and dependence on others didn’t hamper his studies, it had a severe impact on his work. He would miss deadlines, report late for client or team meetings, and rarely reach the office on time. He soon became unpopular among his colleagues and eventually lost his job.

The problem with Tom wasn’t a lack of knowledge or capability, but a lack of self-management skills.

What is self-management?

Self-management is the art of using certain skills to boost your productivity and performance at work.

Self-management skills empower you to set goals and channel your thoughts, feelings, and actions towards achieving your goals.

Here are some of these skills:

Organization:  .

A lot of people simply take things as they come and don’t plan ahead. While the thrill of uncertainty and surprise might be useful in fun activities, it can derail your professional growth.

By organizing your plans, prioritizing critical activities, and executing them on time, you can improve your performance.

Goal setting:

Our goals are our destinations. Without a destination, one can only wander without reaching anywhere. Hence, by setting workplace goals, we can decide on things that need to be done and chart a course to complete those tasks.

Time management:

There are only so many hours in a day. If you don’t learn to prioritize and focus on your tasks, you won’t be able to execute them. Setting up and sticking to timelines is an essential part of self-management.


You don’t have to rely on external motivation to drive yourself. You must have noticed how walking even short distances becomes tiring when you are fatigued or not driven to reach your destination.

However, a self-motivated person will find joy in every step and will try to reach the destination faster.


Taking responsibility for your actions is a key ingredient of self-management. Successful people own their thoughts and decide how they want to act. By becoming accountable to yourself, you will be able to analyze your work practically and draft effective strategies for execution.

Improving Self-Management Skills

The components of self-management make it clear that it is a process that can be internalized through focus and effort. You can become better at it by paying attention to the following steps.

Strength assessment:

You must identify your strong points and positive traits. Focus more on sharpening those areas. For instance, if you are good with web technology, then focus on acquiring skills such as coding, technical writing, graphics, or Artificial Intelligence (AI).


You must clearly outline the tasks that are critical to goal achievement and focus on executing them.

Process setting:

You need to set your tasks according to the order of importance. The most effective way is to use an organizer or a time-management app on your smartphone. If you don’t like relying on technology, you can create a filing system to manage your workflow.

Set demanding timelines:

Assign a clear deadline to every task or stage of a project. Avoid distractions and stick to a schedule to increase your productivity at work.

Be patient:

Being calm and patient helps in enhancing clarity of thought and decision-making.

Self-management skills at the workplace

Remember Tom?

Despite all his brilliance, he failed to succeed at his workplace because he lacked self-management. However, had he adapted to the situation and made changes to his working style, he could have been a very successful person.

Well, you don’t need to go down Tom’s path.

Here are some self-management tips that can make you more efficient and help you succeed in your career.

Be punctual and prepare well for your meetings and projects

Plan the next day’s schedule before leaving office

Maintain well-structured action plans and agendas

Clearly define the goals and objectives of projects and tasks

Assess the project plans at the outset or during the early stages of execution

Self-management is the process of preparing for the future in a result-oriented manner. By taking charge of your current scenario, setting goals, and executing important tasks in a timely fashion, you can achieve your objectives.

Self-management is critical not only for professional growth but also for the overall development of your personality. It is the process through which you realize your potential and streamline it to achieve your goals.

Harappa’s Interpreting Self course can help you grasp the importance of self-management and create a path of workplace success.

Explore topics such as the meaning of resilience , what is self-awareness , charisma , and resilience examples in our Harappa Diaries section and take charge of your growth.


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The 8 Reflections of Self-Management

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Emotional Intelligence, or EI, can have a significant impact on your career as a business professional. Part of mastering your emotions is the ability to take responsibility for your own behaviour, which is known as self-management.

What is Self-Management?

Self-management is the way you maintain control of your conduct in the workplace to ensure that you’re highly productive and inspiring others. This skill allows individuals to regulate their actions, feelings, and thoughts productively. With strong self-management skills, individuals can follow through on their work, be more successful in goal-setting efforts, maximize productivity, and improve workplace performance.

How Self-Management helps

Purposeful self-management can help individuals direct the trajectory of their careers and seek opportunities that get them closer to their goals. Additionally, effective self-management leads to better emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and well-being.

When every team member understands their responsibilities, goals, and what it takes to achieve them through self-management, they can make better decisions and do their part to achieve team and organisational objectives

8 Self-management Reflections

Here are 8 ways to help you improve this important skill to develop a keen sense of positive professional behaviour.

1. Know you have a choice

When anything happens to us, we always have a choice on how we react. We can choose to become emotional and explode, or we can actively take a moment to think about the right course of action and decide how to behave.

Embed in your mind you always have a choice.

By embedding the belief in your mind that you always have a choice, then you’re always in control because you know you can be.

2. Impulse control

Building on the previous point, a big part of self-management is the ability to be aware of our levels of emotion and be highly attuned to them. This means that, should a situation occur that triggers a large emotional response, we can prevent ourselves from an inappropriate display.

To do this, it’s important to reflect on our desires, impulses, drives, and urges, and be mindful of what “pushes our buttons” so that if these occur, we can control ourselves and continue to act professionally.

3. Shake up your routine

When your day-to-day becomes the same over and over, you can slip into a state of comfort. While this is not so much a problem in general, it can make it tricky to evaluate your emotional self. So, try a different type of exercise or undertake something mentally stimulating to break your routine and get more in touch with yourself.

4. Convert emotional energy

When you feel a sense of heightened emotion, such as anger or sadness, it may cause you to experience an outburst that is considered inappropriate in the workplace. However, this vented energy can actually be harnessed and converted from a negative scenario into a positive one instead.

Next time you feel overwhelmed, mad, or frustrated, take a breath and redirect it into motivation instead

Next time you feel overwhelmed, mad, or frustrated, take a breath and redirect it into motivation instead; motivation to fix the problem and be better.

5. Keep a strict calendar

A calendar will help you focus on your productivity while avoiding procrastination, especially when you decide to commit to whatever you plan without compromise.

Developing a schedule that you stick to can help you gain better control over your goals and output every day.

Developing a schedule that you stick to can help you gain better control over your goals and output every day.

6. Be mindful of the reality

Understand that people can make mistakes and most of them aren’t intentional. It sounds simple, but often in the heat of urgency and deadlines, when someone makes an error, it can be hard to remember that some things don’t always go to plan.

When the unfortunate happens, stop and re-evaluate the circumstances before you let your emotions take over.

7. Maintain a healthy diet

Your personal well-being has a direct impact on your emotional health, which means that it’s important to eat well and drink plenty of water.

Your personal well-being has a direct impact on your emotional health

If you’re surviving off several cups of coffee and sugary biscuits, you’re going to be in a completely different state to when you’re eating balanced meals, several times a day, and keeping hydrated.

Starting with the basics can help you manage your emotions.

8. Focus on your interest levels

Self-management takes a level of focus and an active mind to control your emotions. You can’t do this successfully if you’re scattered or distracted. Instead, be patient and take the time to show interest in the topic at hand. When your mind is present, you can manage your emotions far better.

Self-management is a way to best leverage your emotional intelligence and improve your professional conduct. It’s worth investing time into developing it as it can help you focus on your goals towards achieving success.

How Can Lifeology Help You?

Having years of experience assisting people to understand and enhance their Emotional Intelligence, I have helped many people discover their true potential in both their working and personal lives.

Although our Emotional Intelligence becomes more ‘set in’ with age, it is malleable and, along with self-awareness and coaching, can be focused on and enhanced effectively, to improve career growth and success.

Feel free to contact me to find out how!

For more information, contact Kerryn to unlock your emotional potential today.

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Self-management interventions for people with severe mental illness: systematic review and meta-analysis

Melanie lean.

1 Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, UK

Miriam Fornells-Ambrojo

2 Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, UK

Alyssa Milton

3 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Australia

Brynmor Lloyd-Evans

4 Senior Lecturer in Mental Health and Social Care, Division of Psychiatry, University College London, UK

Bronwyn Harrison-Stewart

5 Research Assistant, Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, University College London, UK

Amina Yesufu-Udechuku

6 Research Associate, Centre for Outcomes Research and Effectiveness, University College London, UK

Tim Kendall

7 National Clinical Director, Mental Health NHS England, UK

Sonia Johnson

8 Professor of Social and Community Psychiatry, Division of Psychiatry, University College London, UK

Associated Data

For supplementary material accompanying this paper visit https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2019.54.

Self-management is intended to empower individuals in their recovery by providing the skills and confidence they need to take active steps in recognising and managing their own health problems. Evidence supports such interventions in a range of long-term physical health conditions, but a recent systematic synthesis is not available for people with severe mental health problems.

To evaluate the effectiveness of self-management interventions for adults with severe mental illness (SMI).

A systematic review of randomised controlled trials was conducted. A meta-analysis of symptomatic, relapse, recovery, functioning and quality of life outcomes was conducted, using RevMan.

A total of 37 trials were included with 5790 participants. From the meta-analysis, self-management interventions conferred benefits in terms of reducing symptoms and length of admission, and improving functioning and quality of life both at the end of treatment and at follow-up. Overall the effect size was small to medium. The evidence for self-management interventions on readmissions was mixed. However, self-management did have a significant effect compared with control on subjective measures of recovery such as hope and empowerment at follow-up, and self-rated recovery and self-efficacy at both time points.

There is evidence that the provision of self-management interventions alongside standard care improves outcomes for people with SMI. Self-management interventions should form part of the standard package of care provided to people with SMI and should be prioritised in guidelines: research on best methods of implementing such interventions in routine practice is needed.

Declaration of interests

Self-management broadly encompasses the tasks required to successfully live with and manage the physical, social and emotional impact of a chronic condition. 1 Currently, there is no universally accepted classification of self-management, although it commonly involves the provision of information and education on a condition and its treatment, collaboratively creating an individualised treatment plan, developing skills for self-monitoring symptoms and strategies to support adherence to treatment including medication, psychological techniques, lifestyle and social support. A rapid synthesis 1 of self-management interventions revealed a robust evidence base for improvement in outcomes of long-term conditions, such as diabetes and asthma, and some evidence for interventions in stroke, hypertension and depression, along with the potential for reducing healthcare resource use. The synthesis concluded that inclusion of self-management should be a requirement for high-quality care for all long-term conditions.

A range of interventions badged as self-management are available for people with long-term conditions falling under the umbrella of severe mental illness (SMI) 2 (schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder and major depression), but a recent systematic synthesis regarding their effectiveness is lacking. A 2002 review of interventions for this population identified four key elements that improved the course of illness of those with SMI: (a) providing psychoeducation about mental illness and its treatment, (b) behavioural tailoring to facilitate medication adherence, (c) developing a relapse prevention plan and (d) teaching coping strategies for persistent symptoms. 3 More recently, an additional focus on patient-defined recovery and personal goals has been incorporated into self-management interventions. Through these elements, self-management interventions are thought to empower individuals by providing the knowledge and skills to enable them to make informed decisions to manage their own care, 4 cope with symptoms and reduce susceptibility to relapse and reliance on services. 3

Rationale for the review

To date, previous reviews of self-management interventions for SMI have focused on broad, nonspecific self-management interventions such as psychoeducation 5 , 6 and self-help, 7 or they have been confined to specific diagnoses within the SMI population 8 – predominantly schizophrenia or psychosis. This limits the generalisability 3 of the findings and results in the exclusion of studies focused on broad populations of mental health patients, even though self-management interventions are currently intended for use by a broad group. A comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of self-management interventions for people with SMI has not previously been available. Empowering mental health patients and supporting them in making choices about their care are increasingly given weight among the stated goals and values of mental health services and policies: self-management interventions have the potential to help achieve these goals.

The aim of the present study is to assess the effectiveness of self-management in the typical mixed populations of people with SMI, such as those found in National Health Service (NHS) secondary care settings and in community mental health services in many other systems. We look at the effect of self-management in both the short and longer term in relation to the following prespecified outcomes deemed important from both a commissioning and patient perspective: symptomatic recovery, relapse prevention, reduced need for admission to hospital, self-rated recovery, functioning and quality of life.

A review protocol was developed following PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis) guidelines 9 and was registered at PROSPERO (reference: CRD42017043048).

Inclusion criteria

The research question and inclusion criteria were formulated using the PICOS (Participant, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome and Study) design. 9 This widely used framework supports formulation of focused and rigorous review questions.


Studies were included if participants were adults aged 18 years and over and diagnosed with a SMI, 2 i.e. with a clinical diagnosis 10 of schizophrenia spectrum disorders (schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder and psychosis), bipolar disorder or major depression. Also included were studies with mixed populations of people with these diagnoses (which included those with personality disorder) who were using secondary care mental health services.


Studies were included if patients directly received a self-management intervention that was designed to educate and equip individuals with the skills to manage symptoms, relapses and overall psychosocial functioning. 11 Self-management interventions were delivered in conjunction with treatment as usual (TAU). To investigate the effectiveness of self-management itself, interventions with a broader focus that included self-management as only one of the intervention components were not included in the current review, unless it was possible to ascertain the specific impact of self-management. To be considered a self-management intervention for the purposes of this systematic review, the intervention had to include the following three (of the four) domains identified by Mueser and colleagues 3 as effective areas of self-management:

  • (a) psychoeducation about mental illness and its treatment (to make informed decisions about care);
  • (b) recognition of early warning signs of relapse and development of a relapse prevention plan;
  • (c) coping skills for dealing with persistent symptoms.

Additionally, the self-management intervention should include a recovery-focused element, 11 such as setting personal goals based on an individual's own hopes for their recovery and learning how to effectively manage their illness in the context of pursuing those goals.

Strategies for medication management, the fourth domain identified by Mueser and colleagues, 3 was not considered a necessary domain for a self-management intervention to be included in the current review. Making medication management a mandatory domain was considered at odds with a recovery-focused approach; however the majority of studies did include a medication management component.

Studies employing either TAU, however defined, or active controls were included in this review.

If studies reported on any of the following prespecified outcomes they were included in the meta-analyses:

  • (a) symptom-focused outcomes;
  • (b) relapse (or related service use outcomes: number and length of admissions);
  • (c) recovery-focused outcomes (including measures of overall recovery processes and its components: self-empowerment and efficacy, social connectedness, hope, optimism and the pursuit of a meaningful life); 12
  • (d) functioning (global);
  • (e) quality of life.

Study design

All randomised controlled trials (RCTs), including cluster RCTs and factorial RCTs, were considered for inclusion. Quasi-randomised studies were excluded.

Exclusion criteria

Studies were excluded for the following reasons.

  • (a) The intervention had a therapeutic focus beyond that of improving an individual's self-management of their illness (e.g. cognitive remediation, cognitive–behavioural therapy, basic life skills or social skills), which prevented evaluating the specific efficacy of the self-management component.
  • (i) to family members (either as the target recipients of the intervention or in addition to the patients);
  • (ii) as part of or alongside another intervention (e.g. The Life Goals Program, when it was part of the multi-component collaborative care model Life Goals Collaborative Care, 13 – 15 was excluded on the basis of the additional nurse care management component).

Search strategy and selection criteria

A systematic search for all relevant literature was conducted using a PRISMA 9 search strategy of the databases Medline, Embase, PsychINFO, DARE and CENTRAL, from their inception until 15 May 2018. The relevant parts of a published search strategy used for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) schizophrenia guidelines 16 was used in the current study and details are included in Supplementary Appendix 1 available at https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2019.54 . Abstracts were screened based on the review protocol (M.L.) and any uncertainties were reviewed to reach a consensus (M.L. and M.F.-A.). Twenty per cent of the full-text articles assessed for eligibility ( n  = 82) were blindly assessed to meet inclusion and exclusion criteria (M.F.-A. and A.M.). The few cases of disagreement were discussed and consensus was reached. Additionally, a hand search of reference lists was conducted.

All abstracts were retrieved and added to Mendeley referencing software (version 1.16.3 for MacOS).

Data extraction and quality assessment

Data were extracted and reviewed in Microsoft Excel. Characteristics of the study design, the intervention, participants and outcomes for all available data at all provided time points were extracted. Authors were contacted and asked to provide any missing data. Raw outcome data extracted from papers published before 2012 were kindly provided by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health from our group's previous work with them on the development of the NICE schizophrenia guidelines. The relevant studies and outcome data provided from the original search were then extracted according to this current review protocol and checked against the original manuscripts. When a study had three arms, we followed expert guidelines 17 and combined both control groups into a single group to enable pairwise comparison. Mean values were multiplied by −1 to correct for differences in the direction of scales.

Assessment of bias

Assessment of bias was performed by two pairs of researchers (B.H.-S. and A.Y.-U.; M.L. and A.M.) using the Cochrane Collaboration Risk of Bias Tool. 17 Each study was rated for risk of bias due to sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding of assessors, selective outcome reporting and incomplete data. The blinding of participants in trials of complex interventions is problematic. As such, it is assumed that blinding of participants was at high risk for all studies. Risk of bias was rated as high (weakening confidence in results), low (unlikely to seriously alter results) or unclear. Funnel plots were generated to examine publication bias in analyses with more than ten studies. 18

Statistical analysis

Review Manager (RevMan 5.2 for Windows) software was used to conduct the meta-analyses. When outcome data were reported for more than one follow-up point, the time point closest to 1-year post-intervention was used. Where more than one measure was used to report the same outcome in the same study, we prioritised the primary outcome of that study or included the outcome more commonly reported by other studies in the analysis. On the rare event that a study reported both symptomatic relapse and readmission data, we included the readmission data in the analysis. Studies with TAU and active control groups were analysed together.

Effect size calculation

Effect sizes for continuous data were calculated as standardised mean difference (SMD), Hedges' g , and studies were weighted using inverse variance. 17 For dichotomous outcomes we calculated risk ratios and combined studies using the Mantel–Haenszel method. 17 All outcomes are reported with 95% confidence intervals using random-effects modelling. If reported by studies, we used intention to treat data in our analysis.


Heterogeneity was assessed through visual inspection of forest plots, the P -value of the χ 2 test ( Q ) and calculating the I 2 statistic, which describes the percentage of the variability in effect estimates that is due to heterogeneity rather than chance. 19 A P -value <0.10 and an I 2 >50% suggests substantial heterogeneity. Quantifying inconsistency across studies in this way allowed us to explore the possible reasons for heterogeneity through sensitivity analysis.

Sensitivity analyses were carried out using the one-study-removed method to examine the effect of a specific study on the pooled treatment effect. When a study was identified as substantially contributing to heterogeneity, the potential sources of clinical or methodological heterogeneity were reviewed and compared with the remaining studies to evaluate if their exclusion from the particular meta-analysis was warranted.

Of the 6486 potentially relevant citations, 82 papers were retrieved and assessed for inclusion ( Fig. 1 ). Of these, 20 were excluded because they were not mental health self-management interventions (either they did not meet the three criteria for inclusion, or they covered social skills training only), one study was not completed (protocol paper only), and a further 18 papers were outside of the scope of this review (i.e. self-management was delivered as part of another intervention, or included family members in the intervention). Two papers were included from a reference hand search. A total of 37 RCTs (published across 45 full-text articles) were therefore included in the narrative synthesis. Two were not included in the meta-analyses 20 , 21 as they did not report usable outcomes.

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PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis) flow chart.

Study characteristics

A detailed breakdown of the characteristics of the studies included in this review 20 – 64 can be found in Supplementary Table 1. Studies included in this review randomised 5790 participants with a median sample size of 107 (range 32–555). The majority of studies were conducted in high-income countries ( k  = 27), with a smaller but substantial proportion in lower- or middle-income countries ( k  = 10). The majority of studies ( k  = 29) included participants who were currently living in the community, with eight studies recruiting from in-patient settings.

The mean age of participants was 40 years and 44% were female. In relation to clinical diagnosis, 18 studies included only participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorder and 7 included only those with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The remaining 12 included mixed populations of participants with schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar, major depressive disorder and personality disorder who were in contact with secondary mental health services.

Across the 37 studies, self-management interventions ranged broadly in duration from 1 to 52 weeks (median duration 12 weeks). Likewise, face-to-face/group contact time also ranged widely from 4 to 96 h (median 23 h). Most interventions were delivered in a group format and facilitated by clinicians ( k  = 25) or peers ( k  = 5). The remaining interventions were delivered to participants individually, either as an online, computer-based intervention ( k  = 2), by a clinician ( k  = 2) or by a peer ( k  = 1). Finally, two studies used a combination of group and individual sessions facilitated by a clinician. All interventions were delivered from a manualised protocol, however the depth, detail and fidelity of the intervention to the manual was not always reported in detail. All interventions were delivered in addition to TAU provided in the same respective settings.

Supplementary Table 2 provides a detailed breakdown of the studies reviewed, organised by a preliminary typology of self-management interventions developed as part of this review (further details in Supplementary Table 3).

Self-management interventions were compared with TAU in 19 studies; waiting list control conditions in 3 studies; and the remaining 12 had active control conditions such as group counselling, occupational therapy or psychoeducation (Supplementary Table 2). A further three were multi-arm studies with active and TAU control groups.

Outcome measures

Supplementary Table 4 outlines the continuous measures used in studies, categorised by outcome type. Dichotomous data were also reported. The outcome measures used across the studies were reported to be well-validated and reliable instruments. Symptom outcomes were reported on measures ranging from self-rated (the Internal State Scale) to those rated by caregivers (Psychosis Evaluation tool for Common use by Caregivers) and those requiring a clinical interview (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale). In the majority of studies, relapse was measured as an admission to hospital. A small minority of trials additionally identified relapse in participants when a score reached a cut-off point on a scale, but admission data were given precedence in the present analysis. Measures of quality of life were self-rated, whereas functioning tended to be clinician rated. Measures of recovery which focused on personal recovery as opposed to clinical recovery were exclusively self-rated.

Risk of bias

The risk of bias summary is shown in Fig. 2 and the rating for each individual study can be found in Supplementary Fig. 1. Blinding of participants and personnel is generally considered to be challenging in complex interventions, so risk of bias in this respect was rated as high in all studies except for one. 59 Of note, 9 studies were at a high risk of bias for selective reporting of outcomes measured and 18 were unclear. The ‘other bias’ category refers to whether any studies were discontinued due to adverse events, problems with the study design or acceptability of the intervention.

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Cochrane Risk of Bias Summary.

Quantitative synthesis

Data were analysed at two time points: at the end of the treatment intervention (that is, immediately, or within 2 weeks) and at follow-up. The median follow-up length was 41 weeks (range 4–104 weeks) post-treatment; 52 weeks (range 7–130 weeks) post-randomisation. Summary results are outlined in Table 1 (forest plots in Supplementary Fig. 2).

Analysis of self-management intervention for people with severe mental illness compared with control (active or treatment as usual) (random-effects model)

SM, self-management intervention; SMD, standardised mean difference; RR, relative risk.

a. Indicates high heterogeneity: I 2 >50% and/or P -value <0.10.

* P  < 0.05.

A total of 17 studies ( n  = 1979) found a small but significant effect of self-management on total symptoms at post-treatment (SMD −0.43, 95% CI −0.63 to −0.22). At follow-up, 13 studies ( n  = 1520) demonstrated a marked effect of self-management on total symptoms (SMD −0.88, 95% CI −1.19 to −0.57). There was no significant effect on positive symptoms at post-treatment, however at follow-up ( k  = 6, n  = 771) there was a moderate effect (SMD −0.61, 95% CI −1.03 to −0.19). Self-management had a small effect on negative symptoms at post-treatment (SMD −0.26, 95% CI −0.47 to −0.05) and a moderate effect at follow-up (SMD −0.51, 95% CI −0.82 to −0.21). When looking at symptoms of depression and anxiety, five studies ( n  = 452) favoured self-management both at end of treatment (SMD −0.26, 95% CI −0.51 to −0.01) and follow-up (SMD −0.19, 95% CI −0.33 to −0.04, k  = 6, n  = 964).


Self-management did not have an effect on the total number of patients readmitted at either time point (SMD 0.84, 95% CI 0.48–1.46, and SMD 0.75, 95% CI 0.51–1.08, respectively), however there was an effect at follow-up on the mean number of readmissions (SMD −0.92, 95% CI −1.63 to −0.21). A small effect (SMD −0.26, 95% CI −0.50 to −0.02) was demonstrated on length of hospital admissions immediately following treatment ( k  = 6, n  = 902), whereas a moderate effect (SMD −0.68, 95% CI −1.10 to −0.25) was found at follow-up ( k  = 7, n  = 908).

Self-rated recovery

In relation to overall self-rated recovery, self-management was favoured over control at both time points with a moderate effect size (SMD −0.62, 95% CI −1.03 to −0.22) immediately following treatment ( k  = 11; n  = 1013) and a large effect at follow-up ( k  = 7, n  = 1134, SMD −0.81, 95% CI −1.40 to −0.22).


At the end of treatment ( k  = 3, n  = 346) self-management interventions did not increase sense of empowerment (SMD −1.44, 95% CI −2.97 to 0.08), however at follow-up ( k  = 2, n  = 538) there was a small but significant effect (SMD −0.25, 95% CI −0.43 to −0.07).

Self-management did not influence hope at end of treatment ( k  = 2, n  = 389, SMD −0.18, 95% CI −0.38 to 0.01). At follow-up three studies with 967 participants showed a small but significant effect favouring self-management over control (SMD −0.24, 95% CI −0.46 to −0.02).


Four studies ( n  = 601) reporting on self-efficacy at end of treatment favoured self-management (SMD −0.38, 95% CI −0.62 to −0.15). One study provided data for self-efficacy at follow-up ( n  = 221), which also favoured self-management (SMD −0.34, 95% CI −0.61 to −0.07).


At the end of treatment ( k  = 15, n  = 1948), there was evidence of a moderate effect of self-management on functioning (SMD −0.56, 95% CI −0.85 to −0.28). At follow-up ( k  = 14, n  = 1805) this increased to a large sized effect of self-management on social and functional disability (SMD −0.90, 95% CI −1.34 to −0.45).

Quality of life

Immediately following the end of the intervention, evidence from nine studies ( n  = 863) showed a small but significant effect of self-management on participants' self-rated quality of life (SMD −0.23, 95% CI −0.37 to −0.10) which was maintained at follow-up ( k  = 7, n  = 980, SMD −0.25, 95% CI −0.37 to −0.12).

Heterogeneity and sensitivity analyses

Of the 22 meta-analyses, 17 had high levels of heterogeneity as assessed by an I 2 >50% and/or a significant χ 2 test. The one-study-removed method 17 was used to explore sources of statistical heterogeneity. Although high heterogeneity was identified in a range of meta-analyses, it did not appear to be driven by just one study. An evaluation of clinical and methodological characteristics resulted in the decision to not remove any studies. A full account of the sensitivity analysis is in Supplementary Appendix 2.

Publication bias

Funnel plots were created for the six meta-analyses that had more than ten studies (see Supplementary Fig. 3). The small number of studies and participants across these studies meant that it was difficult to discern any evident publication bias.

Post hoc analysis

A post hoc subgroup analysis of TAU-only and active control-only studies was conducted (see results in Supplementary Table 4). No differential pattern of outcomes between the different comparators was found.

This is the first comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating self-management interventions for people with SMI. The reviewed evidence suggests that self-management does confer benefits across a broad range of outcomes. Specifically, self-management has a positive impact on total symptom severity, negative symptoms and the symptoms of depression and anxiety, both at end of treatment and at 1-year follow-up. Self-management was found to influence positive symptoms at follow-up only. The effect size for self-management on total symptom severity was comparable to or better than those found in recent meta-analyses of cognitive–behavioural therapy for psychosis (CBTp): pooled effect size −0.33 (95% CI −0.47 to −0.19) 65 and 0.40 (95% CI 0.252–0.58). 66 At longer-term follow-up (approximately 1 year post-intervention) self-management had a large effect (SMD −0.88, 95% CI −1.19 to −0.57), although the high heterogeneity should be noted.

Despite the positive effect on symptoms, the findings were inconsistent for variables related to relapse and readmission. This was in contrast to a previous meta-analysis of self-management interventions for those with schizophrenia only, 8 which found a significant impact on relapse and readmission. In the present review, few studies reported relapse as an outcome and, of those that did, only a small number of participants experienced relapse events which may account for the lack of effect. The paucity of data impedes making any comment on the effect of self-management on relapse. However, self-management did demonstrate a small to moderate effect in terms of reducing the average length of hospital admissions, both at the end of treatment and 1 year follow-up.

Self-management did demonstrate a significant, medium-sized effect on global functioning and a small but significant effect on quality life at both end of treatment and 1 year follow-up. Furthermore, self-management seems to confer a benefit on outcomes valued especially highly by consumers, 67 i.e. outcomes related to personal recovery and an individual's sense of empowerment, hope and self-efficacy. A moderate to large effect on overall recovery and self-efficacy was seen at both end of treatment and follow-up; the effect on the recovery-related concepts of empowerment and hope were significant at follow-up only.

Methodological limitations of primary studies

Although all studies included in this review were RCTs, there was variation in the reporting of sequence generation, allocation concealment and – as is common in complex interventions – blinding of participants and personnel was not always consistent. The greatest cause for concern was the selective reporting of outcomes which was noted or not clearly reported in two-thirds of the studies reviewed. Furthermore, the relatively small number of studies and participants in some studies meant that it was difficult to discern any evident publication bias. These limitations must be considered alongside the findings presented in this review to avoid an overestimate of the benefit of self-management.

Strengths and limitations of the review

This review gives a broad indication of the effectiveness and potential value of self-management interventions for people with SMI. A strength of this review is the generalisability of the findings to current practice. For instance, we included a diagnostically heterogeneous sample of people with SMI, representative of those on caseloads in secondary care mental health services and included samples from a wider range of countries and cultures.

Regarding limitations, heterogeneity was found to be high across many of the meta-analyses and, although a certain amount of heterogeneity is inevitable, we have tried to mitigate this through the use of random-effects modelling. 17 A further potential limitation is from the risk of bias quality assessment of the studies included in this review. Interestingly, readmission rates and service use outcomes were infrequently measured by studies. We recommend the inclusion of this outcome in future studies of self-management. We also encourage collection and reporting of important sample characteristics such as participants' length of illness. Fewer than half of the included studies reported on length of illness – a potential mediator of the effectiveness of self-management interventions.

The choice to pool together comparisons of self-management against TAU or against active controls in the same analyses could be criticised. A post hoc subgroup analysis of TAU-only and active control-only studies showed no differential pattern of outcomes between the different comparators. Arguably, TAU varies hugely among the included studies and all of the active controls are treatments which might be available from a multidisciplinary community mental health team. Thus, irrespective of whether TAU and active controls are combined or not, the analysis is evaluating the addition of self-management to highly varied care.

The absence of patient and public involvement in this review is a limitation. Its inclusion would have been particularly useful in developing the operationalisation of self-management, as well as contributing to the interpretation and implications of findings from a patient's perspective. A final limitation in conducting this review was the lack of consensus of how to define the concept known as self-management. Our review is based on a clear operationalisation of self-management, however there is still substantial variation in such interventions.

Implications for practice

Although self-management for this population has been previously recommended at a guideline level, 16 , 68 it remains to be routinely implemented at a service level. On the basis of this review, there is a strong case for including self-management as a high priority for psychosis services and generic community mental health services, alongside interventions such as CBTp or employment support. The diagnostically mixed populations in many studies may have been an impediment to identification of self-management as a high priority in guidance focused on specific groups, but our study supports recommendations from policy bodies and patient groups which state that self-management should be at the core of care for all long-term health conditions, physical and mental. 69 , 70 Self-management interventions are relatively straightforward compared with other psychotherapeutic interventions and can be delivered across settings and in a variety of ways (including group, individual or digital therapies, bibliotherapy or a combination of these), increasing potential for wide implementation. In this population they are often supported: support may be from clinicians, but also from peers. One may hypothesise that peer support could be especially effective in empowering patients and increasing self-efficacy to manage their illness. Effective implementation of these interventions has the potential to alter the long-term course of both the mental and physical health of people with SMI.

Research implications

In terms of future research, demonstrating whether there are clear effects on relapse and readmission is likely to require large, methodologically robust trials that include these outcomes along with cost-effectiveness analysis. The high heterogeneity in this review suggests there are important differences in the content and implementation or context of self-management interventions which influence how effective they may be. There are likely a number of potential contributors: length of intervention, contact time, facilitator (clinician or peer) and type of self-management intervention (from proposed subtypes). Future intervention studies would also benefit from the inclusion of measures of potential mediators and moderators: for instance, the addition of cognitive outcomes will be important for assessing the role of cognitive factors in mediating improvements in functioning. Additionally, structured development of future self-management programmes in conjunction with patients is recommended. 71

Accordingly, there is a need to explore what forms of self-management are most effective, feasible and acceptable, and for whom. Possible study paradigms include realist evaluation of what works for whom, mechanistic studies or a broader systematic review that would have in its scope naturalistic studies using a variety of methods to look at experiences and outcomes of delivering self-management in various ways. Nevertheless, the evidence that self-management already has positive effects on a range of important outcomes is already substantial: thus research is now needed on how to overcome implementation barriers and embed self-management in a sustained and widespread way to routine care for people with long-term mental health conditions, and how to evaluate the effect of this. Implementation–evaluation designs have potential to address these questions.

This paper reports work undertaken as part of the CORE Study, which is funded by the National Institute for Health Research under its Programme Grants for Applied Research programme (reference RP-PG-0109-10078). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health.

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7 Strategies for Improving Your Management Skills

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  • 09 Jan 2020

Developing managerial skills is important for all professionals. According to the World Economic Forum , people management is one of the top 10 skills needed to thrive in today’s workforce. Additionally, research by Gallup shows companies with talented managers experience greater profitability, increased levels of productivity, and higher employee engagement scores—highlighting how vital management is to an organization’s culture and success.

Whether you’re an aspiring or seasoned manager, there are actions you can take to improve how you oversee and guide people, products, and projects. Here are seven ways to become a better manager and advance your career.

Access your free e-book today.

How to Improve Your Management Skills

1. strengthen your decision-making.

Sound decision-making is a crucial skill for managers. From overseeing a team to leading a critical meeting , being an effective manager requires knowing how to analyze complex business problems and implement a plan for moving forward.

In the online course Management Essentials , the following components—referred to as the “three C’s”—are presented as essential building blocks for a successful decision-making process:

self management skills essay

  • Constructive conflict: This involves engaging team members in the decision-making process. It invites diverse perspectives and debate and stimulates creative problem-solving.
  • Consideration: All stakeholders involved in a decision should feel their viewpoints were fairly considered before a solution is determined. Without this sense of acknowledgment, they may be less inclined to commit to and implement the solution.
  • Closure: This is a function that ensures stakeholders are aligned before proceeding. It requires defining what constitutes a project or initiative as “done” within a set period, determining if anything remains to be accomplished, and ensuring everyone agrees as to whether the outcome was a success.

By ensuring your decision-making process encompasses these qualities, you can become a key contributor at your organization and influence the context in which decisions get made.

2. Cultivate Self-Awareness

A high level of self-awareness is critical for managers, and it’s what separates high-performers from their peers in the workplace.

This core tenet of emotional intelligence requires introspection and an honest evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. Through engaging in self-assessment and turning to trusted colleagues to gain insight into your managerial tendencies, you can chart a path for your professional development that hones in on areas where you need to improve, enabling you to bring out the best in yourself and others.

Related: Emotional Intelligence Skills: What They Are & How to Develop Them

3. Build Trust

Trust reaps numerous benefits in the workplace. According to research outlined in the Harvard Business Review , employees at high-trust companies report:

  • Less stress
  • More energy at work
  • Higher productivity
  • Greater engagement

Forge deeper connections with your colleagues by engaging in small talk before meetings and learning more about their lives outside the scope of their work. In addition, encourage inclusive dialogue about personal and professional differences, and be open to diverse viewpoints in discussions.

Doing so can cultivate empathy among your team , leading to a greater sense of camaraderie, belonging, and motivation.

Related: 6 Tips for Managing Global Teams

4. Be a Better Communicator

Strong communication skills are a hallmark of any successful manager. Being in a managerial role involves tackling complex business situations and ensuring your team has the information and tools required to succeed.

When facing challenges like navigating organizational change , be transparent about tasks at hand and instill your team with a shared vision of how your company can benefit from the impending transition. Continually provide updates and reiterate the plan for moving forward to ensure your employees are aligned and understand how their work factors into larger corporate objectives. By developing communication and other interpersonal skills, you’ll set your team up for success.

5. Establish Regular Check-ins

Make it a habit to regularly check in with your employees outside of their annual performance reviews. According to research by Gallup , team members whose managers provide weekly feedback are over:

  • Five times more likely to strongly agree they receive meaningful feedback
  • Three times more likely to strongly agree they’re motivated to do outstanding work
  • Two times more likely to be engaged at work

Keep the conversation informal when delivering feedback , and focus on the person’s progress toward organizational goals rather than their personality. In addition, help them chart a plan for moving forward, and affirm your role as a trusted advisor as they tackle next steps.

6. Carve Out Time for Reflection

Beyond regular check-ins, set a consistent cadence for reflecting on and reviewing your team’s work. In one study by Harvard Business School professors Francesca Gino and Gary Pisano, it was found that call center employees who spent 15 minutes reflecting at the end of the workday performed 23 percent better after 10 days than those who did not.

In a video interview for Management Essentials , HBS Professor Amy Edmondson says reflection is crucial to learning.

“If we don’t have the time and space to reflect on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, we can’t learn,” Edmondson says. “In so many organizations today, people just feel overly busy. They’re going 24/7 and think, ‘I don’t have time to reflect.’ That’s a huge mistake, because if you don’t have time to reflect, you don’t have time to learn. You’re going to quickly be obsolete. People need the self-discipline and the collective discipline to make time to reflect.”

Schedule reflection sessions shortly after the completion of an initiative or project and invite all members of your team to participate, encouraging candor and debate. Hone in on problems and issues that can be fixed, and plot a corrective action plan so that you don’t encounter the same pitfalls in your upcoming undertakings.

7. Complete Management Training

Beyond your daily work, furthering your education can be an effective way to bolster your management skills.

Through additional training , such as an online management course , you can learn new techniques and tools that enable you to shape organizational processes to your advantage. You can also gain exposure to a network of peers with various backgrounds and perspectives who inform your managerial approach and help you grow professionally.

For Raymond Porch , a manager of diversity programs at Boston Public Schools who took Management Essentials , engaging with fellow learners was the highlight of his HBS Online experience .

“My favorite part of the program was interacting with my cohort members,” Porch says. “I received valuable shared experiences and feedback and was able to be a thought partner around strategies and best practices in varying scenarios.”

Related: 5 Key Benefits of Enrolling in a Management Training Course

How Managers Become Great Leaders

While the terms “management” and “leadership” are often used interchangeably, they encompass different skill sets and goals . Yet, some of the most effective managers also exhibit essential leadership characteristics.

Characteristics of a great leader include:

  • Exemplary leadership: Strong leaders often consider themselves as part of the team they manage. They’re concerned with the greater good of their organization and use delegation skills to effectively assign tasks to the appropriate team members. Just as they must provide feedback to their team, great leaders must accept others’ constructive feedback to improve their leadership style.
  • Goal-oriented: It’s crucial for leaders to deeply understand their organization’s business goals. Knowing its overall mission allows them to strategically prioritize initiatives and align their team with a common vision.
  • Self-motivated: It’s vital that leaders are self-motivated and use time management skills to reach their goals. They must accomplish difficult tasks while inspiring their team to follow suit.

By bolstering your leadership skills , you can strengthen your relationship with your team and empower them to do their best work, ultimately complementing your managerial skills.

Which HBS Online Leadership and Management Course is Right for You? | Download Your Free Flowchart

Elevating Your Management Skills

Managing people and implementing projects on time and on budget is a business skill that all professionals should strive to master. Through sharpening your soft skills, building self-awareness, and continuing your education, you can gain the skills needed to excel as a manager and lead both your team and organization to success.

Do you want to become a more effective leader and manager? Explore our online leadership and management courses to learn how you can take charge of your professional development and accelerate your career. To find the right course for you, download the free flowchart .

This post was updated on September 2, 2022. It was originally published on January 9, 2020.

self management skills essay

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Reflection on Time Management Skills Essay

Defining time management, effectiveness criteria, measuring my time-management skills.

Time management is a crucial skill to live a proactive life that helps to achieve goals and avoid frustration from procrastination. Effective time management is an ability to analyze, define, and prioritize everyday activities. Even though I try to have a daily schedule, my planning skills lack crucial features to be effective.

Time management is an ability to find a balance between all the obligations and needs and fit them into one’s daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly routine. According to Burchard (2016), time management should start with setting life goals and working down towards hourly schedule, as every action is supposed to be a step to achieving one’s objectives. In simpler words, it is creating a plan where every point is viewed as an opportunity to progress in life. Therefore, time management is an ability to analyze the use of time, acknowledge the responsibilities, set the priorities, and act without procrastination.

Effective time management involves creating plans for periods of different length. Strategic planning for any action should include long-range, mid-range, and short-range steps (Cuseo, Thompson, Campagna, & Fecas, 2016). A good time-management plan includes transforming intention into action and provides flexibility to accommodate unforeseen opportunities (Cuseo et al., 2016). Moreover, it allows time to take care of unexpected outcomes and offers opportunities for both work and play (Cuseo et al., 2016). According to Burchard (2016), even free time and leisure activities should be planned to achieve a higher goal in life. In short, effective time-management is creating a plan of all the macro and micro steps that correlate with one’s life’s purpose.

My time-management skills are relatively poor, as I have not had enough time to develop my planning proficiency. Most of my life, my schedule was decided by others, including my parents, teachers, and school authorities. When I started my higher education, I was caught amidst a variety of new obligations and expectations, such as cooking, doing laundry, managing money, managing free time, and completing my assignments. Even though I usually have short-term plans, they do not correlate with a bigger picture, as I have never had a plan for a year or a month. I always have my daily schedules, but most of the time I do not think of my weeks.

In my schedule, I always find time for work and play, and I have no problems in transforming intentions into actions. However, my plans are not flexible enough, as I tend to overlook the possibility of unforeseen events. For example, I usually go to sleep around 11 p.m.; therefore, I started working on the current essay three hours before going to bed. However, I did not expect that I would have to include a scholarly article into my reference list. For this reason, I am forced to stay up late that ruins my plans for the next day, as I will not have enough sleep. In short, my time-management skills are poor due to an inability to provide time for unexpected events.

I am also prone to procrastination, which interferes with the ability to control the time spent on the critical task. According to Häfner, Oberst, and Stock (2014), to procrastinate is to “voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay” (p. 352). Even though the problem is demonstrated by 60% of students, I should use effective prevention techniques to develop efficient time-management skills (Häfner et al., 2014). In short, while procrastination is a common feature for students, it should be avoided with the help of every accessible tool.

Time is a valuable resource that requires careful management, as it can help to get better control over one’s life. However, understanding is not enough to acquire full control over time; information and intentions should be transformed into action. While there is enough time available to improve my planning skills, I still have a long way to go to master the art of time-management.

Burchard, B., (2016). Simple time management rules [Video file]. Web.

Cuseo, J., Thompson, A., Campagna M., & Fecas, V. (2016). Thriving in college and beyond: Research-based strategies for academic success and personal development (4th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

Häfner, A., Oberst, V., & Stock, A. (2014). Avoiding procrastination through time management: An experimental intervention study. Educational Studies , 40 (3), 352-360. Web.

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1. IvyPanda . "Reflection on Time Management Skills." October 31, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reflection-on-time-management-skills/.


IvyPanda . "Reflection on Time Management Skills." October 31, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/reflection-on-time-management-skills/.

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  1. What is Self-Management? (7 Skills to Improve it) [2023] • Asana

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