For most of us, the towering challenge in building management competence is at the very beginning. There is a fundamental contradiction imprinted on our workplace behavior by our beginner experience. It makes Square One so difficult that some people never fully get through it. And, for those who do, applying its lessons can block further growth.
This is how it works:
We first must learn the skills and practices of personal productivity. That means we work on how to order our days through time and priority management while we're learning how to do the job. If you don't get this right, you can never do anything well -- especially leadership.
But, at the same time we must learn as managers when and how to suspend certain of the personal skills in order to handle responsibility for the output and skills development of others. That requires concentrating our attention outwards, working to understand and influence others. For example, building effective working relationships is not at base a matter of efficiency.
So, we must focus intensely on identifying, defining and perfecting our own personal activities at the same time as we're doing the same for others. Contradictory activities.
The first step, personal productivity, is very difficult to even understand, then to learn. It requires a lot of practice, and trial and error.