To be a success at living independently, you will need to become an effective manager by taking control over yourself and your resources. Management involves using resources to meet your goals. In other words, it means using what you have to get what you need or want. Management skills are helpful in many situations—from simple to complex.
Earlier posts on this site addressed decision-making skills and problem-solving skills. In addition to these, you will need planning, organization, communication, time management, and financial management, and continued self-development skills. Author, Joshua Riddle, describes ways to develop these skills in his article, “5 Personal Management Skills for Being Awesome.”
The management process is an organized way to reach your goals. The process involves five basic steps:
- Set a goal. Your first step is to decide what you want or need to do. Your goal statement should offer a clear vision of what you want to do. Make your goal specific and include a deadline for its accomplishment. Instead of saying, “I want to get a job,” say “I plan to get a job as a secretary in a medium size company by the end of this month.” You can see the expected result and how long you have to meet your goal. A deadline helps you pace yourself in working toward your goal. Writing your goal down increases your commitment to reach it.
- Make a plan. Use your decision-making and problem-solving skills to decide what you must do to reach your goal. Identify each step. Decide when, where, and how you will move ahead. Identify the resources available. Decide who will complete each step. Put your plan in writing. Determine how you will tell when everything is complete. You could use a checklist, a schedule, a calendar, or reminder notes. Keep your plan handy for reference. In a group situation, a written plan lessens confusion. It reduces the chance that an important task will be left undone. Everyone is better informed. Sometimes, a written plan helps to uncover potential roadblocks and makes them easier to avoid.
- Act on your plan. Without action, even a good plan is useless. Putting your plan into action may be easy or hard. Sometimes, taking the first step is the hardest. Use available resources wisely as you carry out the plan. If others are involved, communicating regularly contributes to a more positive attitude toward the project.
- Control your plan. This step involves checking your progress and making decisions about any needed changes as needed. If the plan does not work, revise it; never view the plan as unchangeable. If Plan A does not work, try Plan B as you continue to pursue your goal. You must control your plan to keep it working.
- Evaluate the results. Evaluation is the key to improving your planning skills. Take time to check the effectiveness of your plan. Did you reach your goal? If so, for future reference recall what worked and what did not. If you failed to reach your goal, consider what went wrong then revise your plan or set a different goal. Were your resources used effectively? What would you do differently next time? You will learn many of life’s best lessons from plans that failed.
Developing good management skills take practice. Identifying your resources and understanding what influences you will help you make decisions that are right for you. You need sound decision-making and problem-solving skills to manage effectively. You will need management skills in your personal life, at home, at work, and in organizations.
What management skills do you need to improve? Make a list of things you can do to become a better manager.