Positive leadership starts with a commitment to first lead ourselves. Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People provides a roadmap for personal leadership that stands the test of time. Whatever our setting or position may be, we cannot go wrong by developing the 7 habits. They include:
Habit 1. Be Proactive. Apply principles of personal vision to decide what you want to do and how you want to do it. Then take positive action.
Habit 2. Begin with the End in Mind. Apply principles of personal leadership to define and seek the best possible outcome in a given situation. Then focus your action to achieve that outcome.
Habit 3. Put First Things first. Apply principles of personal management to address the things that matter most. This is essential for both personal wellness and professional effectiveness.
Habit 4. Think Win/Win. Apply principles of interpersonal leadership to generate solutions that help those involved accomplish their goals. This is possible more often than we typically realize, and win/win solutions are more likely to deliver lasting value.
Habit 5. Seek First to Understand, then to Be Understood. Apply principles of empathetic communication to understand the aims, values, and constraints of others. This puts us in better position to generate positive relationships and win/win solutions.
Habit 6. Synergize. Apply principles of creative cooperation to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy is possible in more settings than we typically realize, whether the situation is one of teamwork, collaboration, or negotiation.
Habit 7. Sharpen the Saw. Apply principles of personal renewal to assure that you are ready and able to practice positive teamwork and leadership. This means adopting a wellness mindset, tending to our physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual wellness. It also means adopting a growth mindset, where we commit to personal learning and approaching challenges as opportunities for growth.
These seven habits are grounded in research and practiced by effective leaders across the globe. We highly recommend putting The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to work as part of your personal development plan.