Managing Yourself is Only Half the Battle – Supervising Yourself is Just as Important


Being your own manager is only half the battle.

In the old days, as you learned a trade (a skill), you would work under a journeyman (it was pretty much always a journeyMAN), until you became a journeyman yourself. (And then, if you made it to the pinnacle, you would become a master).

Today, so much of our work is more “internal,” (“i.e., “information worker” work), and more and more people, even if they work within an organization, have to be ever-more self-directed. (See Zappos’ move to HolacracyNo more managers at Zappos).

Recently the always helpful Laura Vanderkam wrote How To Be Your Own Manager: Developing An External, Strategic Perspective On Your Career, Just Like A Talent Manager Would, Keeps You Moving Forward. She wrote:

…as people move in and out of roles more frequently, we’re starting to have as many jobs on our résumés as an actor might have gigs. If you want to be a rock star at what you do, here’s how to be your own manager.

She has five recommendations. They are all good, but I especially like #s 4 & 5:

#4 – Coach Your Performance
#5 – Promote Yourself

But… here’s what I think. After you manage yourself, you now have the next, maybe tougher assignment. And that is to “Supervise Yourself.”

Remember the distinction:

Manager:
a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization.

Supervisor:
Person in the first-line management who monitors and regulates employees in their performance of assigned or delegated tasks.

Maybe, consider it this way: a manager makes sure the company is going in the right direction. The supervisors are making sure that the individuals are getting the job done; the right work done, and done well.

So, after you manage yourself, you then have to make sure the work is getting done—you have to supervise yourself, to get the work done.

And, if you have trouble here, then you have to up the game even further, and define your role as that of being a “taskmaster” to yourself.

Taskmaster:
a person who supervises rigorously the work of others.

I’ve got a hunch that this task is as important, and sometimes maybe more difficult, than it seems.

In other words, once the “right” work is planned out, then making sure the work is actually done is pretty much the whole ballgame.

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