A New Policy: “You Manage Yourself”

The other day, I wrote about about my experience with adopting a “One Life” policy.

It sparked a great discussion and I got a chance to meet some really amazing leaders who felt the same way.  Apparently we’re on to something.  It’s time to change!

However, I think it’s missing something.

In order for the “One Life” policy to work, it needs the “You Manage Yourself” policy to go with it.

Here’s how it looked:

“You will be led by strong leadership, but must manage yourself.

On our team it will be possible to get away with cutting corners, faking sick days, two hour lunches, stealing Post-it notes, and other activities that happen under poor management.  However as your manager, you will be responsible for what happens under your watch.  You must achieve your objectives and manage your talent to reach the success that is expected and required.

  • If you need help, lean on your leaders.
  • If you want advice, ask for it.
  • If you make mistakes, admit them.  Then move on.

It won’t be easy and this may be your first management position, but we believe in you.”

If leaders are going to find focus and time to lead, everyone on the team must manage themselves.

Here’s why:

1)  The “One Life” policy makes things too complicated

Once you let humanity into your organization, it gets complicated.  Imagine trying to track how much time people are doing “home life” activities vs. “work life”.  How do you quantify and measure what’s appropriate?  Humans are complicated.

Some leaders fear adding more “stuff” onto their already full plate and that’s why rigid rules were made in the first place.  Rules make things simple, but simple doesn’t work anymore.  So, when it finally gets complicated, it’s time to delegate the management.

2)  It’s impossible to manage another human

Unless you are in manufacturing or similar controlled environment, it is simply not possible to truly manage another human.  Human management is a myth.  Heck, half the time I can’t manage myself.  Good luck controlling the emotions, hormones, or motivations of someone else.

Since humans aren’t that easy to control, why wouldn’t you promote the person who knows your employee best?  They have more experience than you do.

3)  Empower your people and they will have the power to do amazing things

Most people want to do great things with their lives.  Only hire those type of people. If you find out that your team member doesn’t care to do much with their life, help them find a new job.  The old saying goes “Hire great people and get out of their way” and the “You Manage Yourself” policy is the most complete way to do that.

Also, the “You Manage Yourself” policy frees leaders to do the one thing they need to do most:  Lead.  No more excuses.  Leaders must lead and managers must manage. Collaborate with creating measurable goals, keep managers that win, and help the rest get new jobs.

Keep it nice and simple.

Have a great night!



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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

6 comments on “A New Policy: “You Manage Yourself””

  1. Brian,
    I loved “One Life Policy” I told the Boss that’s how life should be run, everywhere when I shared your post with him. (He says, don’t we?!) This is a great addition. You are 100%!! And you know, by the time we are adults, we should be able to “manage” ourselves. I know some need guidance, but we (adults) shouldn’t need to BE managed.

    1. Amber-Lee, thanks for the kind words about my post. I’m glad it helped spark a discussion. The workplace has gotten crazy and it’s leading so many talented people to burnout, leave, or change who they are. It’s time for a change and I’m glad you’re with me on this revolution.

  2. You’re stubborn, Aaron. I’m starting to really like that about you. [grin]

    I think you need to work out more of the benefits to the employer in the one life workplace. For example, if I know a design project takes 40 hours and that’s all the project we got going this month, then the designer will get paid for the 40 hours on successful completion of the project by the deadline – not 120 hours.

    What do you think?

    1. Stan, I’m really loving your comments lately too. It is true that I can be stubborn sometimes, particularly on this issue.

      Employers will benefit from a One Life Policy because they will retain great people who will leave if they aren’t cared for. As for a 40 hour project that takes 120 hours, that’s a whole other issue. If a designer thinks it will take more than 40, then they shouldn’t accept the project then. If a company thinks it will take more than 40 hours, they shouldn’t bid on it. It’s all about effectively projecting time requirements. We all know that projects may end up going long (or short), but if it happens too often, I think it’s poor leadership. No matter what, people need to be cared for, or they will leave. That’s why the One Life Policy works…

      Also, on a side note…I’m a big fan of paying people based on performance, not on hours worked. It’s part of my Manage Yourself Policy idea. If you pay by the hour, you have to manage them. Let them big/accept the project, then it’s on them.

      Believe it or not, I am a realist.

  3. I want you to be stubborn on this. But don’t tell anyone I want to see a more human workplace. I’ll have to deny it. Because that’s the last thing a VC or angel should ever figure out about how I want to get amazing things done. [laughing]

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