Self-Management and Its Impact in Leadership

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self management

Self-management is the second pillar of emotional intelligence, as described by Daniel Goleman. Following his theory, to be able to manage ourselves successfully, we need to be self-aware of our emotions and be able to self-manage them.

It is a competency that is composed by the following abilities: self-control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability, achievement orientation and initiative. In this article, we will explore how the emotional abilities of self-control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness can impact our career.


We cannot control what we do not know, so the first step in having emotional self-control is to recognize our emotions and how they manifest in us. In general, they are easy to recognize and shared in different cultures, but each person experiences them in a unique way due to the individual’s experience and values.

With certain emotions, we will notice how our heart rate accelerates, or we feel hot or cold, for example. These feelings could support us in identifying our emotions.

The next step is to explore what causes the emotion we want to control. Albert Ellis worked on the premise that emotions which affect us negatively occur because we have a mistaken belief system about ourselves, about others and about the world.

READ: Building Self-Confidence Through Self-Awareness

In Ellis’ theory, he explains how an event activates our thoughts and beliefs, triggering emotions. But this experience also has the potential to change them. As Ellis proposes, by identifying these wrong thoughts or beliefs and exchanging them for more real and adaptive ones, we will be able to control our emotions.


In this instance, trustworthiness refers to the likelihood of undesirable events, which defines people's predisposition to engage in a trusting relationship with a person or object while assuming the perceived risks. Reliability leads us to the idea of ​​statistical probability. For example, people feel safe when traveling by plane because they can infer, from the information they have, the low probability of the risk of accidents.

Trust, on the other hand, refers to a concrete action, taking risks on the behavior of the other party based on a positive expectation of reciprocity. When one person decides to trust another -based on the specific contextual situation - that can lead the other person - whom one trusts - to honor this investment of trust.


Conscientiousness is one of the five personality traits of the so called “Big Five” traits in the personality theory (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism) that is used in HR to support people decisions. A person scoring high in conscientiousness in a personality test, for example, usually has a high level of self-discipline, they are methodical and highly perseverant.

However, in the study of Positive Psychology, conscientiousness also means becoming more self-aware. By being more in tune with your thoughts, feelings and emotions, you can expand your perception of reality. Raising your awareness involves stretching your mind beyond your comfort zone to enter a deeper sense of understanding.

Being fully present, aware and attentive to the current moment, leaving the state of distraction, is a state of mind that is called "mindfulness". Explained in other words it is described as the "mental state reached when focusing on the present moment, while calmly recognizing and accepting your feelings, thoughts and physical sensations".

This mental state is achieved through intentional effort, controlling your attention to the present moment.

READ: The Building Blocks of Accurate Self-Assessment

People who are trustworthy and conscientious are reliable and have high ethical standards. They are also prepared to confront those who act unethically and they are not afraid to make unpopular decisions if they believe it is the right thing to do.

Antifragility in Trustworthiness and Conscientiousness

Antifragile, as opposed to fragile, is something that improves when faced with an unexpected situation. The concept was presented by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, published in 2012.

In his theory, he breaks with the model that the opposite of fragility is strength or resistance, characteristics of those who can withstand extreme situations without changing. In his view, the opposite of fragile is antifragile, the capacity we all have to learn, improve and adapt to new ways when facing high pressure situations and hardship. This concept is considered the evolution of resilience.

A leader with these characteristics not only remains calm in times of adversity, but also is able to learn, change and adjust along the way. They flourish and can deliver the best in a difficult situation. By mastering self-control and not letting their impulses to dominate, the leader generates tranquility and trustworthiness in the team.

In addition, to build trust, leaders must demonstrate conscientiousness and trustworthiness that is only possible when the person is self-controlled. Therefore, as leaders, our primarily development should be on emotional intelligence. We must be able to lead ourselves before thinking of how we lead others.

HR and Future of Work - 3rd Annual Online Event

The Future of Work is here. Things like remote work, flexible work hours, learning being integrated into the work experience and upskilling are all happening before our eyes. Now, the Future of Work discussion must shift once again to figure out how to evolve the employee experience further and help humans integrate with technology in ways that will drive efficiency and the growth of new skills. Roles are changing, demands on the workforce are shifting and HR will be at the forefront of what the future of work looks like. Registering and attending this FREE ONLINE event will provide you real strategies for preparing your company and your employees now for the challenges that lay ahead. Challenges such as predicting the skills of the future, strengthening and sustaining the workforce through new digital technologies and fostering a cohesive corporate structure.  Attendees will also be able to put their real questions to the speakers and get valuable, actionable feedback that can be used to plan your organization’s plan for the next 5, 10 and 20 years.

 HR and Future of Work is scheduled to start at 11a EST daily.

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