Management Articles


Excerpt From The Art Of Managing: How Do I Develop Self?

By: Jane Treber Macken

Jane Treber Macken, MBA-Management,MA-Organizational Behavior and the author of THE ART OF MANAGING,is a highly acclaimed business consultant. Her latest book, The Art of Managing teaches how to be successful in business and relationships. Read more at

To develop Self, work on the mind though continuous learning, the body though exercise and proper nutrition and the spirit through quiet time such as meditation, contemplation, reflection or relaxation. Quiet time helps you define where you are, where you want to go and what you must do to get there.

The development of Self theme emerged from my interviews with successful leaders and means to uncover personal growth and awareness in relation to the individual, the business, and the community. I believe the economy and knowledge-based individuals require leaders to continue personal growth. When people are striving to improve Self, they are more open to learning and more energized by opportunities to learn. The individual and the organization interact with congruence. The payoffs can be increased commitment, higher levels of energy and enthusiasm, sincere dedication to success of the group, and a general positive effect on many people’s lives. By setting challenging goals for ourselves, we can expect to develop the drive and ambition to move forward in our lives. As we develop Self, we will have a better understanding of creating the lives that we most desire for ourselves.

What I mean by working on Self includes:
  • know Self (through therapy, counseling, or personal growth groups to learn about strengths and weaknesses to manage biases and weaknesses)

  • attend professional meetings (to benchmark other practices with what you are doing)

  • give presentations (to check your Self and hold your work up to scrutiny)

  • solicit feedback and evaluation (from clients, peers, external partners, and family to gain perspective on where you are)

  • practice spirituality (daily time to meditate about work, role, and outcomes, including questioning intentions and integrity)

  • be honest with yourself and clients (acknowledging when not neutral in your beliefs, labeling biases and admitting your own agenda)
Understanding yourself includes understanding your emotions (fear, anger, sadness, guilt, rage, shame, happiness, joy). When you feel an emotion, reflect to see where it is coming from. People can only evoke reactions in us if we choose to let them. By reflecting and going back in time to when you first remember a similar word, situation, person, or incident, you can work through the original incident by replacing those memories with what should have been to make you feel OK. By replacing negative messages with positive ones, we overcome negative programming and become more in harmony with our relationships and our environment. As you begin to understand yourself more and more, you will respond positively to more and more situations and relationships with understanding and compassion.

In 1997, I completed a study on the characteristics and attributes of successful companies that doubled their sales every four years—Applied Materials, Atmel Corporation, Chiron Corporation, Cisco Systems, Foundation Health, Hewlett-Packard, Infinity Financial, Microsoft, The Money Store, Silicon Graphics, Solectron, and S3. Their size ranged from 250 employees to 300,000 employees. I wanted to explore the link between high levels of personal mastery and leadership. I interviewed CEOs, vice presidents, chairmen, general managers, and managers with twenty to forty-five years of experience each.

Those leaders interviewed had a good understanding of Self and exhibited the attributes of those people who clearly work on Self. They had a special sense of purpose. They saw their current reality as an opportunity, welcomed change, felt connected to others and life itself, believed they influenced others, enjoyed their journey and exuded confidence even though they were aware of their weaknesses.

When asked how she developed Self, one leader stated, “The way you look at life and why you are put here on earth…listen to people, read and continue to learn.” Another stated, “I think it’s a philosophy that I have, particularly in relationship complexity. I was brought up reaching out and caring for people…personal mentoring…and, making sure that the learning and feedback help with development.” Another leader said: “I think I had the fortune of working for people who probably exhibit these characteristics early in my career and people who I thought had particular skills or manners that I felt would be effective for me.”

I believe that even if you do not have a parental role model, you can learn from any mentor or model of this behavior. The importance is to create an environment in the workplace with the right leadership.

These attributes can be applied to not only individuals but also to organizations. Whether a person, a family, or a billion-dollar company, where there is a will to make it happen and an understanding about how to do so, success is likely to follow.

All human beings want to be better than they are. People are eager to improve themselves. Self-improvement has an economic basis; however, our real growth is inward. We understand our spiritual selves through peace, silence, and beauty and in meditation and reflection. If we nourish the spirit, we can grow to be our better selves.

I believe that those leaders who have embraced both external and internal learning can sustain and maintain their level of Self by acting as mentors and coaches to facilitate others’ growth. We are part of the whole…each one of us is part of the system that could include the universe, or it could be just a small group in an organization. There is nothing more powerful you can do than to encourage others toward the lifelong process of working on Self.

© Copyright 2007, Jane Treber Macken

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