Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Self-Management And The Leader

In reviewing my thinking on leadership during the course of this module I went back and watched David Allen’s talk at Google on personal productivity. He is not an authoritative voice on leadership, nor does he claim to be, so his thinking most likely falls outside of the canon of leadership literature which I am exploring for this module. However one always needs to look for good ideas in unsuspecting places.

What drew me back to this video was his central thought that when you are in charge of others and leading them in whatever direction you all need to go, you need to be very much in charge of yourself and totally clear about your own direction. I remembered his four panel matrix* of self management. This is a good diagnostic tool to evaluate where you are at in terms of your degrees of perspective and control, and once aware then you can act to improve. I made this diagram of the four categories that Allen identifies.


  • The Crazy-Maker has no consciousness of constraints or resources.
  • The Reactor is driven by the latest and the loudest.
  • The Micro-Manager is over-structured: ‘too controlled is out of control’.
  • The Master & Commander has his eye on all of the horizons, walks the line between structure and freedom so as to get to where he needs to go most elegantly.
Where am I located on this matrix then? I would say that I am too high in control and only lower mid-level in perspective.

*It is always a four-panel matrix isn’t it?