Self Management – The Leading Competency for Working Remotely During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has unquestionably altered the current state of work (i.e. forcing most companies to work remotely), and for all intents and purposes, it will likely change the future of work as well. However, it is important to remember that the impact of COVID-19 is just one example of change and change in the workplace happens all the time. Since change is inevitable, the question for Talent Strategists becomes, what differentiates employees who are un-phased by organizational change?

The answer is Self Management.

There are several attributes inherent within Self Management that make it the #1 competency associated with top performers. The focus of this blog will be on the three attributes that most directly impact a self manager’s ability to navigate periods of change and uncertainty.

Strong Self Managers are internally-oriented in a number of critical ways that insulate them from the external changes which cause so much disruption for others.

Second, Self Managers have an internal locus of control. This means self managers focus on things within their direct control, while attributing both their successes and failures to controllable factors (e.g. effort, attitude, skill). This again negates the influence of changing environmental factors, as these external factors were never perceived to be influential to the self manager’s success in the first place. Individuals who possess an external locus of control, heavily emphasize and rely on the external factors they perceive as critical to their success (e.g., structure, support, feedback), and as such are extremely negatively impacted when these factors are removed.

Finally, Self Managers are proactive as compared to responsive. These individuals are comfortable taking initiative and problem solving on their own. Self Managers are comfortable creating their own ways of doing things, and as a result are more effective in less structured and dynamic working environments. Self Managers don’t need to be told what to do or how to do it, they figure things out on their own or seek the necessary resources.

Change as it relates to the state of work is inevitable. The current COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to not only the severity and abruptness that change can take, but also the importance of having a workforce capable of excelling in this rapidly changing environment. Self Management Group has a 40 year track record of helping organizations attract, select and develop self managers. Self Management is currently the single most predictive attribute of top performers (as identified by over 3500 validation studies) and will only continue to grow in importance as the labour landscape continues to evolve.

Published by Chris Gee, Ph.D.