Covey 7 Habits Analysis
I have always been a firm believer that there are many different types of leaders. To be a leader you must have natural ability, and have the ability to listen and grow. Being in many leadership roles and positions has helped me to become the best person that I can be.
Looking at leadership and management however opened my eyes to a new concept. I had never before realized how much the two go hand in hand. I feel the two words are synonymous in some aspects. My Leadership and Management style helped me to realize what kind of natural skills I have as a leader, and what kind of defined skills I have as a manager.
My “Lamp” chart really was split between the two entities. I always thought that I was much more of a leader than a manager. Come to find out I have skills in both sides that compliment one another. My Leadership style consists of many components, but the main two are my creating abilities and my empowering abilities. I feel that these two are the natural traits that I have, and they are things that I have expanded on the more I learn about others, and myself. I have always been a creative person, the one with the ideas and new concepts.
This has allowed me to be an effective leader in my positions to find other ways to do things, and to be successful at implementing new ideas. I also have the ability to empower those around me. What this means is to get people excited and willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the goal or task we may face. I do this by believing in those around me and giving others the tools they need to lead themselves. My management style however is a bit different. I believe management skills are learned unlike leadership traits.
Through the positions I have held on campus, in high school, an in the work place I have learned to become more responsible and in turn some vital managerial skills. Through my “LAMP” I have come to realize my top two managerial skills are organization, and I am very job centered. I have not always been an organized person, and still believe that there is much room for improvement. With that being said my organizational skills have vastly improved while in college and it is due to the roles I have had within clubs and organizations, and most importantly my fraternity.
Organization didn’t come easy for me, but I realized to become an effective manager I needed to be organized, this directly translates to being an effective leader as well. Poor organization can lead to loss of credibility and that is something I try to stay away from. I am also very job centered. This means I like to know what needs to be done, by whom, and with a set date. If I have all of that I am able to delegate and get jobs finished in a timely manner. Being job centered really means I like to have defined roles.
Who’s doing what is a big deal for me, especially in managerial and leadership positions. Now the question is are Leadership and Management the same? I think not. There is a reason that the two are separated on the test. Both Leadership and Management skills are vital when taking any role or position of power. The differences lie in how you take charge and take control. Leadership skills I feel are things you are born with. Leaders also are people who are highly revered, someone who you look up to or want to be.
While Managerial skills can be taught if enough hard work and effort is put in. Yet managers sometimes are not revered as a role model because for the most part they tend to be your boss and make less of a personnel connection. This is why I feel having defined skills in both areas can make you the most effective person you can be. Being a great leader allows you to connect with people, excite people, and build credibility. While being a good manager means you delegate well, you stay organized and on task, and you oversee/stay on top of those whom you are managing.
According to Kotter in the article What Leaders Do “Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change. ” Good management is what keeps chaos from occurring. Kotter talks about how management is a major component in consistency and profitability if we look at it from a business aspect. This article describes how management is all about the complexities and how to good managers cope. “More change always demands more leadership. ” (pg.. 86 Kotter. ) Things are ever changing today. This is why leadership as a practice has now become so important.
Kotter talks about the abilities of leaders to run with the change and make things work with little room for discrepancy or chaos. A good leader is someone who can roll with the punches, figure out a new plan of action, and take charge all at once. Leadership is something that takes courage to make the tough decisions when something arises. The two styles although different do go hand in hand. When looking at Leadership and Management in relation to the Greek community we see how vital it is to have students who exemplify both qualities.
When obtaining a Leadership role within a Fraternity or a Sorority you are taking a lot of responsibility. To run a Greek house you must have the support and respect from all members, otherwise you can accomplish nothing. Fraternities and Sororities were built on the basis that we share the same goals and aspirations, it is the Leaders job to remind everyone that so they are able to carry on together. Leadership skills also come in handy when relating to your members. If you approach them as a manager instead of their leader they may lose that connection with you.
With that being said the Managerial side of running a Chapter also is very important. I like to think of this as the work side. When managing a Greek house you must always be on top of the logistical or behind the scenes work that many members never really get a chance to see, whether it be connecting with nationals, working with housing corp. , or going to IFC meetings. This is where being a manager plays a big role because with all of this work organizational skills, delegation, and planning all must take place otherwise mayhem could occur.
Once things get out of hand it is hard to pull them back, that is why staying on top of everything as a manager is just as important as being the leader that everyone wants to follow. Another way to look at leadership and management in daily life is Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The book looks at how to be the most effective person you can be. The steps you need to take to do so is also a major component in the book. The 7 Habits prepares you to change your outlook on what it really means to be effective, and in turn what it takes to be a leader.
Habit one is Be Proactive. Sounds pretty self-explanatory but when you look more in depth you can really learn a lot from this habit. Being proactive is the root to being effective. It is the first step away from dependence towards independence. Being proactive means taking initiative, getting things done, and overall taking control of your life. When you become proactive you take responsibility for your choices. You learn what it means to really take accountability and get things done. Being proactive really is all about getting yourself to do what needs to be done and being accountable for that.
I have personally seen myself start to be more proactive the older I get. I was a huge procrastinator when I was younger and was always rushing to get things done. Now by being more proactive I have found time to do others things and take on more responsibilities as a leader. Habit two is, begin with an end in mind. This boils down to setting goals. Whenever starting a project or taking something over know what you want to achieve when you begin. This is very important in measuring success. If you have a goal you have a target you are trying to reach.
The more solidified the goal the more prepared you can become while trying to achieve it. To begin with an end in mind is like setting a personal goal or mission statement that can be applied to everything that you do, thus knowing what you can and want to achieve. I find habit two extremely insightful. I have always been an activator, someone who loves to start things and get them off the ground, my problem sometimes is once I start I don’t know where to go. This habit is really on that I connected with because I feel it can help me solidify what I want to do and where I want to go when starting any project in my life.
Habit three is put first things first. In other words it is to prioritize by importance rather than urgency. Many times people get caught up and procrastinate, leaving them behind and always rushing to catch up on due dates. In the book there is a chart called the time management matrix, which shows four quadrants. The ideal quadrant is two, if you are living in this quadrant you have your priorities in check and have some free time to enjoy life. Most people however live in quadrant one, which is crisis management and never having free time because of poor pre planning.
I find this habit to be one of the more difficult ones to live by. In my “LAMP” planning was my lowest strength on the management side. I struggle with putting first things first because sometimes I literally do not put first things first. This is something since reading the seven habits that I know I need to work on for my own leadership and management needs. Habit four is think win-win. This chapter explains all the different types of people that are out there. It explains that some people are out there only working for the good of themselves and do not care if they push anyone down to get where they want.
This chapter focuses on looking at life from the perspective of win-win. Therefore everyone is no worse off than before. If we always went into a deal looking for the best option for both parties then things would run a lot smoother. This habit teaches us that making the right call and doing the right thing will propel you further than if you are only looking out for your own self interest and nothing else. I feel that I am pretty acclimated with this habit. I have always been the type to seek mutual agreements on deals or trades.
I feel that by both parties becoming better off there is more room for working together or trading again in the future. Someone who only looks out for themselves will end up burning many bridges and will have no one to rely on soon enough. Habit Five is seek first to understand, then to be understood. This means to listen to someone, really listen to someone. Habit five is all about understanding someone, fully listening and caring about what they say. In turn they will do the same for you. Empathetic listening is key when connecting and seeing where someone is coming from. This is a great characteristic to have as a leader.
When someone feels like they are really being heard, then they will make a conscious effort to hear you out. This will in turn create an environment of complete unity and will make it that much easier to get things done when you can see from others points of views and they can see from yours. I feel that I have been getting better at understanding first then seeking to be understood. Many times during the beginning of my Presidency I would try to be heard first, what I noticed is that nobody listens when all you want is to be heard. Everybody has a voice and those voices need to have the opportunity to share.
Once I learned this many people who I had never even connected with much before my term started coming to me for daily advice because I would actually listen to them. In turn I found myself with a mass support system within the house. Habit Six, Synergize. To combine the strengths of everyone in the group for cohesive and effective teamwork is what synergy is all about. You can also use synergy to bring all seven habits together as well. Once you can figure out a way to make them all work then the habits almost condense into one proactive effective lifestyle. To truly understand synergism you must understand and trust the process.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts is a great way to think about synergism. Working to combine the best attributes of people into one is very hard to do but with synergy you must trust others and trust yourself. Synergy can even be related to work, using synergistic energy to bring new ideas and methods is vital to keep things moving and to renew. I feel that because of my Leadership studies minor I have been able to see strengths in people and work together with them implementing my strengths to maximize the potential of the group and do the best job that we can.
I also noticed that working as a team and feeding off of others ideas really gets the engines going, creating a better work environment and creating healthy competition. Habit 7, Sharpen the Saw. This is taking a step back, viewing where you are, your goals, and life and really taking the time to meditate and think of how you are effective, and more importantly how you can become even more effective. When you “Sharpen the Saw” you are taking the time to focus on you. This can even be things like working on your physical health and mental well being.
This is very important because if you feel tired, overworked, or stressed it is time to re-evaluate everything and have a plan to better yourself. I like to think of sharpening the saw as if I am looking at my effectiveness and goals from an outsiders view and how I can grow to become a better leader. I feel that I do not take enough time to do this. , partially because I do not manage my time as well as I would like to, to really evaluate myself and how I am doing. I do find it is really difficult to revisit my strengths and weaknesses and how to improve them because I am too worried about how everyone else is doing.
When looking at the seven habits and the move from dependence, to independence, and ultimately interdependence I see how the seven habits can really be effective. I found that the seven habits, if utilized correctly can really change your life. The book however in my opinion goes too in-depth about how to use the habits. I feel that it could be condensed, giving more information about the habit itself, and less about how to live your life. The habits should be interpreted by each person from their own standpoint because everyone will use them differently.
The part of the book I connected with most was the circle of concern and the circle of influence. This really hit the nail on the head for me. I find myself worried about too much instead of figuring out ways to use my influence to change them. If I was less concerned, and more influential the problems I face would not be there in the first place. This is something I have tried to work on ever since reading Covey’s book. I also have become more aware of myself. Habit 7 opened my eyes to the fact that I really do need to take care of myself more. By doing this I can effectively use the other six habits to my advantage.
Overall I found the habits to be a guide for how to not only be a leader, but how to live life. The habits themselves are great tools to use in a leadership position or to just become a better person. The habits paired with my strengths and my management styles really all coincide. Now I just need to take what I know, take a step back and see how I can apply it to my everyday routine. I want to live like my favorite quote says, “Don’t count the days, make the days count. ” Muhammad Ali. The only way to make the days count is hard work, effort, and the application of my strengths and the seven habits.