What is Self-Management & How Can You Develop the Key Skills to Build It?

While self-management sounds like being self-employed or being your own boss, it’s actually one of the highest-valued skills in the world of work. So, what does it mean exactly? Self-management is actually multiple skills rolled into one. It’s understanding who you are and how you operate, making good decisions, prioritizing your responsibilities, taking action without guidance, self-regulating emotions, and more. At work, employees who are able to self-manage are typically more effective at problem-solving, more creative when it comes to innovation, and ultimately get more done because they’re taking the initiative to do so.

So if you are seeking a promotion or want to land a new role, building your self-management skills is a good place to start.

Identifying Skills Gaps Pertaining to Self-Management

Being able to identify skills gaps in self-management ability starts with understanding what skills are integral to effective self-management. Below are a few to monitor! When asking yourself the below questions, if you’re answering “no,” that’s an area to start developing.


  • Do you typically take the lead on projects if no one else volunteers?
  • Are you one to improve systems or processes if you see they aren’t effective?
  • Have you been able to make a difference at work with the actions that you took?
  • Are you willing to go above and beyond without being asked?
  • Do you take action without being assigned a task if you see it’s important for your responsibilities and role?


  • Are you able to prioritize your work without your manager telling you what to do next?
  • Do you overcome being overwhelmed by consolidating tasks and goals?
  • Can you manage technology and tools to automate and make your life and job easier?


  • Do you give up easily when faced with a challenge?
  • Are you able to take constructive criticism and apply it as a learning experience?
  • When faced with uncertainty, are you able to overcome that feeling by designing small experiments, trial-and-error type scenarios, to see what is effective?

Goal Tracking

  • Do you set goals for yourself and check on your progress without being prompted to?

If you answered no to any of the questions above, that simply means you’re human, and you have specific areas to develop! The first step to achieving development is identifying those skill gaps. So, pride yourself in that, and let’s get to work

3 Ways to Start Building Self-Management Skills for Career Success

Whether you want to climb the ladder with a coveted promotion or land your dream job, the first step is mastering self-management. With this skill, anything is possible! Whether you answered no to many of the questions above or simply want to be more intentional with your self-management muscle building, start with these three actions.

Work on Your Self-Awareness

To master self-management, you need to know yourself deeply. Self-management comes with the ability to manage your emotions, behavior, and thoughts in a healthy way. To do that, you first must be able to know what pain points trigger you, what sparks joy, etc. Self-awareness is the foundation of self-management, so start here.

Take Care of Yourself

If you’re burnt out, sluggish, unmotivated, and uninspired, you will not be effective when practicing self-management. Being able to thrive and succeed in the world of work, taking initiative, and managing projects effectively without oversight, starts with a clear mind and strong body.

Pencil in time for that morning workout, drink the green juice and end your day at a specific time even if there is still work to do. All these things will help you self-manage more easily and effectively.

Stop Multitasking

For some reason, companies have given a gold star to those who can multitask over the years. But in fact, multitasking is detrimental to your productivity and your brain! A Forbes article shared research stating, “Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully. Research also shows that, in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ.” Know your limits, set boundaries, and focus on one thing at a time using organization and prioritization. This is more efficient!

Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways you can develop your self-management. Our NimblyWise coaches can work with you one-on-one to hone in on where you need to develop to achieve self-management success. Want to learn more about personalized coaching opportunities? Let’s chat.