Twelve Rules for Self-Management

This is the article I have written for tomorrow, and I wanted to share it here with you too.

I often refer to Managing with Aloha as the “Third Peak” in learning my workplace philosophy; if you are to be a truly GREAT manager, you must LIVE with Aloha and WORK with Aloha first. That means you self-manage before you presume to manage others, and this is what I consider self-management to involve.

12 Rules for Self-Management

Management is not just for managers, just as leadership is not just for leaders.

We all manage, and we all lead; these are not actions reserved for only those people who happen to hold these “positions” in a company. I personally think of management and leadership as callings, and we all get these callings to manage and lead at different times, and to different degrees.

Considered another way, I believe we can all learn to be more self-governing through the disciplines of great management and great leadership; these are concepts that can give us wonderful tenets to live and work by.

For instance, these are what I’ve come to think of as Twelve Rules for Self-Management. Show me a business where everyone lives and works by self-managing, and I’ll bet it’s a business destined for greatness.

1. Live by your values, whatever they are. You confuse people when you don’t, because they can’t predict how you’ll behave.

Speak up! No one can “hear” what you’re thinking without you be willing to stand up for it. Mind-reading is something most people can’t do.

Honor your own good word, and keep the promises you make. If not, people eventually stop believing most of what you say, and your words will no longer work for you.

When you ask for more responsibility, expect to be held fully accountable. This is what seizing ownership of something is all about; it’s usually an all or nothing kind of thing, and so you’ve got to treat it that way.

Don’t expect people to trust you if you aren’t willing to be trustworthy for them first and foremost. Trust is an outcome of fulfilled expectations.

Be more productive by creating good habits and rejecting bad ones. Good habits corral your energies into a momentum-building rhythm for you; bad habits sap your energies and drain you.

Have a good work ethic, for it seems to be getting rare today. Curious, for those “old-fashioned” values like dependability, timeliness, professionalism and diligence are prized more than ever before. Be action-oriented. Seek to make things work. Be willing to do what it takes.

Be interesting. Read voraciously, and listen to learn, then teach and share everything you know. No one owes you their attention; you have to earn it and keep attracting it.

9. Be nice. Be courteous, polite and respectful. Be considerate. Manners still count for an awful lot in life, and thank goodness they do.

Be self-disciplined. That’s what adults are supposed to “grow up” to be.

Don’t be a victim or a martyr. You always have a choice, so don’t shy from it: Choose and choose without regret. Look forward and be enthusiastic.

Keep healthy and take care of yourself. Exercise your mind, body and spirit so you can be someone people count on, and so you can live expansively and with abundance.

Managers will tell you that they don’t really need to manage people who live by these rules; instead, they can devote their attentions to managing the businesses in which they all thrive. Chances are it will also be a place where great leaders are found.

Next week: 12 Rules for Self-Leadership

From Say Leadership Coaching: Are you a manager or leader?

Related Posts:

  • On Ho‘ohiki, Keeping Your Promises
  • The Real Rules of Engagement
  • New to Management: A Learning Hit List
  • The Role of the Manager
  • The 10 Beliefs of Great Managers
  • Comments

    1. says

      A good list, Rosa. To me, #4 says: don’t bite off more than you can chew, but allow yourself the room to admit you were wrong to bite it if you can’t chew it.
      #2 reminds me of something I read a long time ago: People, on the whole, are good. They are not, however, mindreaders.

    2. says

      Aloha Carolyn, mahalo for stopping by.
      There is much collected wisdom in adages which become sayings and proverbs, and usually with much more brevity than I normally manage! Thank you for sharing.
      And by the way, I’m glad you linked to your new blog! I hadn’t known you were now writing for Know More Media and have added it to my subscriptions!

    3. says

      Dearest Rosa..
      I am in LOVE with these 12. I’ll blog about them on VirtualMoxie next week, as I think they are perfect for VAs.
      Looking forward to the 12 rules for self-leadership!

    4. says

      Hiya Stacy! Mahalo for the compliment; so glad to know these will be useful for you, for you know how much I admire the work you do!
      I am smiling from ear to ear thinking about you coaching these missives!

    5. says

      Aloha to you, Rosa. The adages have lasted, I think, because they speak; and they speak, as you said, sagely and with brevity.
      As to me writing at Know More Media, it has one of those Universal/Kharma twists: I let go of something that might have been, in the long run, a hurt; three hours later, right there in my mailbox, was the email that I’d been accepted as a KMM author. Isn’t there a Hawaiian saying for that?

    6. says


      It’s tough enough to manage others, but ourselves? Yes, I jest, we need to be master self-managers before we can gain any kind of street cred for managing others. With that in mind, I love this post from Rosa called,

    7. says

      Aloha for Virginia Tech: Choosing to Respond

      On Monday morning I taught a class on Managing with Aloha, and as is my usual habit I shut most everything else out right before I taught it, keeping myself in the zone of my own thoughts in preparation for

    8. says

      Twelve Rules for Self-Leadership

      Last week I shared my Twelve Rules for Self-Management with you, and it was very heartening to see them get copied and reposted on several sites. Self-discipline is something we can all use more of! Mahalo nui to Ho‘ohana Community