Managing Oneself

Companies today aren’t managing your career. You must be your own HR guru. That means it’s up to you to identify your place in the world and know when to change course. It’s up to you to keep yourself engaged and productive. This is the premise of Peter Drucker’s 2005 HBR article “Managing Oneself”.

Managing Oneself Drucker

Peter Drucker asks some great questions the article (available as a short book).  This is a very brief summary of his article.  (The summary image above is a wonderful thing to print and keep in your notebook.)

  • What are my strengths?  Feedback is the only way to find out.  Do you have a systematic process for getting feedback on your behaviours?
  • How do I perform?  How do I learn best?  Don’t struggle with modes that don’t work for you.  (on Mastery)
  • What are my values?  “What kind of person do I want to see in the mirror in the morning?”
  • Where do I belong?  Mathematicians, musicians and cooks are mathematicians, musicians and cooks by the time they are 4 or 5 years old.  Successful careers are not planned, they happen when people are prepared and positioned for opportunities that suit them.  Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person into an outstanding performer.
  • What should I contribute?  Given my strengths, methods and values: what is the great contribution to what needs to be done?  Don’t look too far ahead – 18 months is the range of good planning.  Define courses of action: what to do, where and how to start, what goals, objectives and deadlines to set.
  • Responsibility for Relationships:  Adapt to what makes those around you successful.  Adapting to what makes your boss most effective is the secret of managing up.  Take responsibility for communicating how you are performing; take responsibility for building trust

  Final thoughts from Peter:  In management…

  • Success is at best an absence of failure
  • People outlive organisations
  • People are mobile and will move
  • We must manage ourselves, and help others manage themselves
  • Each worker must think and behave like a CEO

Further Reading

The Original Article is available at Harvard Business Review: Managing Oneself – Harvard Business Review or as a short book Managing Oneself (amazon).

Which question do you find hardest to answer in your own life?  I will share some resources with those that comment or email.

8 responses to “Managing Oneself”

  1. […] you liked this post, you will also like Managing Oneself and Meaningful […]

  2. This article was shared so much on Twitter and I had to come and see it. The picture explains the 64 pages of the book in a nutshell!

    If you want to check detailed notes on the book that will kinda help in internalizing concepts even further it is right here – http://bit.ly/2ddP4xI

    Do let me know what you think 🙂

    1. Thanks – and thank you for sharing your notes on your blog – a great resource.

  3. Hassan Oubalqass Avatar
    Hassan Oubalqass

    Good article as always .I want just to add something that jim rohn said “no one will do your push ups for you”.

  4. […] Source: Managing Oneself […]

  5. Tek, Elif Dusmez (TR - Ankara) Avatar
    Tek, Elif Dusmez (TR – Ankara)


    Which question do I find hardest to answer in my own life?

    I have been working for the same company for 12 years now. I am working as a management consultant. I love my job but there have been times when I wanted to change my career but than just went on. That I continue with the same job and company, is it something wise to do, has it been a wise investment or am I afraid of losing what I have on hand and therefore do not have the courage to change my career? This is the question that I could not answer for many years and do not yet know the answer.



  6. Hey, thanks for sharing! All very important questions we should be asking ourselves. All the best!

  7. Conor, Great article! Thanks for sharing!

    The three hardest questions for me to answer are the last two: *Where do I belong?* *What should I contribute?* and one more: *How do I communicate how I’m performing?*

    On Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 3:41 AM Moving People to Action wrote:

    > Conor Neill posted: ” Managing Oneself Companies today aren’t managing > your career. You must be your own HR guru. That means it’s up to you to > identify your place in the world and know when to change course. It’s up to > you to keep yourself engaged and productive. This is th” >

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