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Workforce Management

Leaving Employees to Self-Management

Traditionally, both employers and employees have developed stereotypes in different cultures and both employers as well as employees enter a workplace with those stereotypes set in their minds. Employers often use excessive and negative means to 'control' employees forgetting that they are buying service and not people, and employees who suffer learn to put all employers in the same cast. On the other hand employers are let down by negligent employees, procrastinating people with poor work culture, and some who do not keep trust or faith. Consequently, employers who have so suffered, see employees with suspicion and try to micromanage affairs. However, holding on to stereotypes is wrong since every individual is different and so is every employer as well as employee.

Respect is visible in a workplace when employees are allowed to self-manage themselves and the employer's role remains that of a supervisor and a leader – not someone who peers over shoulders and wants ‘rules' to be followed without logic.
Business Meeting
However, in this day and age, management is trying to become more malleable and encouraging employees to manage themselves more, thus reducing overheads, doing away with middle-management and creating a flatter organization with quick response time.

Self-management as a philosophy and a technique for employees is accepted by modern managers because it simply works. Allowing a successful employee to manage his or her own progress, allowing a successful manager to manage his or her own team by setting deadlines, maintaining morale and oversee the existence of satisfaction among employees, all help to attain performance objectives.

Self-management is seen in management theory as an effort by an individual to control his or her behavior. It involves goal setting, negotiating work, monitoring the work-environment to maximize performance and attainment of work-goals and teaches an individual to set and commit resources to specific goals.

Faced with competing demands on time and resources, self-management allows an individual to improve his/her own behavior and exercise greater control over his/her decision making. While everything in a workspace is going smoothly it seems there is no requirement for training people to self-manage themselves. However, that is a common mistake. Continuous order from supervisors and supply from subordinates turns work boring and reduces the scope of offering challenges and achievements to employees.

Always the forces of chaos trying to overcome a workplace: continual interruptions, unscheduled visitors, non-essential phone calls, there's no end to the number of distractions that can happen in a workplace. If employees are not trained to self-manage themselves, chaos would eventually overtake and harm productivity.

Self-management takes care of dissatisfaction, the sense of stagnancy, and inability to control one's actions and reactions. When an individual personally sets up goals, he/she is spurred to take active charge of the process to realize those goals. As a management technique, self-management teaches basic techniques and measures the performance of their application against time. It involves the following activities:
  • Self-assessment – identifying the problem
  • Goal setting – establishing goals to deal with the problem
  • Self-monitoring – overseeing and controlling the situations that hinders the achievement of goals
  • Self-evaluation – estimating the success of a course of action and adjusting it to suit reality
For employers, it is extremely important to teach employees to self-manage themselves, because it builds loyalty and performance that is rarely seen otherwise. The sense of responsibility acquired by an employee and attachment to company objectives formed by personally aligning goals and objectives to that of the company cannot be substituted by order-supply of work.


Colette A. Frayne, Reducing Employee Absenteeism through Self-Management Training: A Research-Based Analysis and Guide (New York: Quorum Books, 1991)