Tag Archives: Stephen Covey

Leadership is self-development

A lot has been written about leadership, leadership development and being a leader and yet more and more books are written about leading.   Top leadership development experts like John Maxwell pump out books year after year exhorting would be leaders to “be” a leader.

The top leadership development experts continue to inspire and move people to develop their leadership skills?  Why?

What would happen if we had great leaders in every organization, every non-profit, every community activity, every neighborhood and in every household?   Things would change.

Here are a few things from a list of things people can do to become a better leader and they aren’t hard to do.  It just takes thinking about leadership consciously, practicing leadership consciously and living leadership consciously.

Here’s a good one, “don’t micromanage“.   How many people in leadership positions micromanage?   Some say they don’t and then out of habit give direction rather than helping others find direction.   Micromanagement is faster some say and micromanagement leads to an exact result.   Certainly working with someone to develop their skills and talents takes more work initially.   The end result though is someone who is more passionate about the work they do and it takes less time to “manage” someone if they can solve problems rather than asking for permission to own their work.

Micromanagement is often a result of a manager/leader who is not confident in themselves.  They don’t trust who they are and as a result they don’t trust others either.   A micromanager  has difficultly in letting go and letting others get going.   In most cases the result of someone that is being micromanaged will never be good enough.   The micromanager will insist on a level of perfection that is unobtainable thus setting up the employee for failure.   The micromanager will assert a “BLM” (Be like me) attitude that all their cohorts should exhibit.   Differences in opinion, style and thoughts are often discarded by the micromanager as it is only their agenda that matters.

Those who work for a micromanager may never fully be able to utilize all their strengths and talents.    The micromanager has to first realize they are not leading effectively and then to get help so that they can become a leader and develop the potential in others.

For the micromanager a good first step would be to absorb the advice of John Gailbraith  when he wrote,  “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

live energetically

Where is your energy?

If your energy is catabolic (lethargy, defiance) then a little bit of that energy is very powerfully negative.  In other words a little bit of those types of energy robs you of the energy you need to be innovative, creative, …

Small amounts of negative energy drains you of the energy you need to really to be as successful as you’d like to be.   Negative energy slows you down – you worry, you fret, you get anxious, you doubt your abilities, you think rather than act, you can’t decide, you wallow and procrastinate.    Knowing what level of negative energy you have can be the knowledge that you have been looking for, the knowledge that will set you free.

“Every human has four endowments- self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.”

Stephen R. Covey

Systems thinking and leadership

“A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships.”  Stephen R. Covey

Often individuals in an organization are being held responsible for the failure of systems or processes and this leads to downward spiral in productivity, morale, and commitment.   At the core of organizational output are systems and processes.   At the core of systems and processes is the purpose, “what is the reason for ___________?”     Knowing the purpose of a system or process is the first step in understanding how to make the system work better.

When systems don’t work well and don’t deliver the results in many cases the flawed assumption is that the people are responsible.  In reality people are only trying to implement the system the best that they know how.   Leaders without substantial belief in systems will fault the people.   When people experience negative motivation, punishment will follow the lack of results, the desired results never appear.  

Leaders that believe people are reason for poor results are often thinking reflexively and that limits potential solutions to the problem and often leads to even poorer results.   

What can be done?

  1. Understand the purpose, understand what and why is to be done.
    1. What is the problem that needs to be solved?
    2. Why does a solution need to exist?
    3. Find out what the customer needs.
    4. Find out what output will create the right result.
    5. Find out what process will create the intended result.

If the process doesn’t produce the intended result then appropriate actions should be taken to correct the process.