Managing or Regulating Oneself and Others: Path to Your Goals

To me, self-regulation and self-control were synonymous, but I took the time to Google the definition of the term. Of note was the third result, which related to education and came up on a website sponsored by The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. They defined self-regulation as, “an integrated learning process, consisting of the development of a set of constructive behaviors that affect one’s learning. These processes are planned and adapted to support the pursuit of personal goals in changing learning environments.”

This means it is more than just controlling myself. It is applying myself in constructive ways for the purpose of learning. It is choosing to stay at my computer and work on schoolwork when I’d much rather be out watching the history channel with my husband. I move myself toward my educational and career goals by the choices I make. The communication involved is sometimes self-talk, as I have to convince myself that what I am going after is worth what I am giving up. Sometimes the communication is with other people who, though well meaning, might be creating distractions or temptations which stand in the way of my goals and make applying myself difficult, and I need to communicate my desire to complete my goals with them and get them on my side so that they help and encourage me rather than impeding my progress.

Managing others is different. I can easily apply control over myself because I know my own goals and desires, and I know what motivates me. I have little control over things or people external to myself, and I’m not sure I know how to motivate others. I managed a couple of employees when I had my own business but I don’t know how good I was at it. One employee was never that good at her job. She got limited hours because of a sour attitude and poor work habits; my husband and I did not let her go because she was ill of health and needed the income and also because we went to church with her and her husband and we didn’t want any bad feelings between us. The other employee was bright, energetic, and motivated. She learned the business quickly, and I was able to trust her with more and more responsibility. When I took maternity leave, she worked full-time in my absence and soon became an invaluable asset to our business. I didn’t do anything differently when training her than with the other employee; her success was a result of who she was internally, and I’m not sure that I could have managed the other employee to any sort of success because of who she was internally.

I have been fairly successful at parenting but there is an inherent level of authority built in to the parent-child relationship, which, as long as you do not relinquish it, exists well into late adolescence. That authority gives you some leverage when dealing with a child that you would not have when dealing with another adult. I think before I could be a good manager I would require considerable training in that arena to learn techniques for managing and motivating people and helping them to reach their goals.

One response to “Managing or Regulating Oneself and Others: Path to Your Goals

  1. The personality that we hold does create a judgmental playing field when it comes to rating one’s performance. I agree that it is difficult to manage others because it takes a persistent learner to be guided through the stages of learning while taking the necessary personal steps to obtain the education sought after. You can’t make a learner learn as well as you can’t make a worker work. It’s achieved through desire, hard work, and goals. I enjoyed your post!

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