Practicing self-management can enhance the relationship between the CEO/ED (chief executive) and the board and yield benefits for the entire organization.

Self-management means practicing the relationship behaviors that make oneself and others blossom. It means noticing these behaviors in others, admiring them, and reinforcing their continuance. And it means asking oneself from the very beginning: “What kind of relationship do I want and how do I sustain it?”

It can be a challenge to balance what is human nature with what is needed in a leader. There may be times when the chief executive morphs into other life forms while interacting with others. Making a list of these behavioral pitfalls is a helpful exercise. The chief executive may bark at the board chair who calls in mid-thought with a request or new idea, growl at the staff member who complains about a committee chair’s lack of follow-up, or take on the qualities of a robot while moving through a project or conversation step by step, according to the plan, without regard to the value of new information.

When the chief executive recognizes that personal behavior might be sending a message that he or she has become something other than a leader, it’s time to reel back in and take control. A first step in self-management is reflecting on a list of personal pitfalls. Are some of them particularly troublesome and repetitive? Did new pitfalls emerge that she had control over in the past? The executive may ask, “What led to my stressful behavior?” “What did I learn from falling off the wagon?” “How can I be more aware of the warning signs when I am allowing my buttons to be pushed?” “Would outside help from a friend, colleague, or leadership coach be useful?”

Read the full article about practicing self-management as a board member at BoardSource.