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What is Leadership? What an obvious question! Just what is leadership? But it is a necessary one. If you want to be a leader you first have to have your own favourite answer, or definition of leadership. Favourite answer? Is there not one standard definition of leadership? No single characteristic of leadership that is so obvious that we all recognise it? Sorry but, no, there is not. Indeed, there are many different leadership definitions, ranging from the dictionaries, through the text books to those dreamt up by the practitioners. As you will see, each attempt to define leadership emphasises different aspects of leadership, or different leadership characterisitics, and reflects the originator's leadership values. Some leadership definitions Unfortunately, most dictionaries donât really help us. For example, one actually defines leadership as: âThe ability to lead.â Thankfully, Wikipedia is more helpful. It says that leadership is: âA process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.â Another answer to what is leadership, by Akhil Shahani, puts it more simply as: âThe process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective.â Elements of Leadership I find these interesting because they contain two essential elements of what is leadership; the people elements and the task elements (related to objectives). Every successful leader has to work with both of these. But I am concerned that these leadership definitions involve a âcommon taskâ or âobjectiveâ. These words suggest that the end goal is already provided, clearly defined or laid down. Leadership doesnât always have the luxury of such clearly stated purposes. Sometimes leaders and followers evolve these together, with the leader consulting others to gather opinion and win support. I prefer to think of leaders as providing direction (that is, a dream of an ideal future or a âvisionâ) which may then be crystallised into a "common goal" and objectives, perhaps involving some of the followers in doing so. But here we are touching on the idea ofÂ leadership styleÂ . And thats for another part of the website. So, lets have another go at defining what is leadership. More definitions Turning now to the text books, Peter Drucker, in âThe Leader of the Futureâ, says: âThe only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.â While Peter Maxwell, in â21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadershipâ, says: âLeadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less.â My own leadership definition, based upon my own experiences, studies and observation as a practitioner, is that: âA leader is someone whose direction and approach other people are willing to follow.â And therefore, leadership is: âInfluencing others to follow a given direction.â Implications for Leaders This definition of what is leadership carries a number of implications. First, within an organisation leaders are not always managers or supervisors, formally appointed by others. In fact, this is one way of distinguishing between managers and leaders; managers are appointed from above (ie, by more senior management), leaders are appointed (or anointed?) from below (ie, by their followers). To really grasp what this means, think of terms like âRing leaderâ to describe someone who leads a group of people into trouble. Ring leaders are not appointed from above but from within the group. We also talk of some people as being a âBad influenceâ. We are concerned about people who are a bad influence because, once again, we recognise their ability to lead others into trouble. Ring leaders and bad influences are clearly not appointed, but they are most definitely followed. Secondly, leaders donât even need to have responsibility for a team. Sometimes people are recognised as having leadership characteristics or qualities by others, who then simply choose to follow what the person says or does. Good examples are people who lead religious (such as Jesus Christ), revolutionary (such as Napoleon) or civil rights (such as Martin Luther King) movements. Another implication is that being a manager does not make you a leader. A manager may have excellent skills in organising work, creating policies and procedures, following disciplines and delivering services. But if others donât willingly follow their lead, they are not a leader. So, leaders must offer others (their followers) a cause, direction or objective that is interesting, attractive or satisfying enough for others to wish to follow. Finally, is a leader created, or is leadership defined, by giving someone a job title? No, itâs defined by what a person is (their qualities), what they have learned (their skills) and what they do (their actions). Others recognise these attributes and choose, willingly, to follow. So, to answer the question "what is leadership?", leadership is: âInfluencing others to follow a given direction.â And it can be thrilling, challenging, scary, satisfying, humbling andÂ veryÂ rewarding! Leadership versus Management Is there a Difference betweenÂ Leading and Managing? My focus on Learn-to-be-a-Leader.com is on leadership versus management. But are these just different words that really mean the same thing? Some organisations seem to use the term leader as a more fashionable term for a manager. But there is a difference between the two roles, although please remember that many people combine both in one job. I believe: âA leader is someone whose direction and approach other people are willing to follow.â And therefore, I see leadership as: âInfluencing others to follow a given direction.â The body that was set up in the UK to define national standards for managers (the Management Charter Initiative, or MCI) defined the role of the manager as: âHelping the organisation to achieve its objectives and to continually improve its performanceâ Although the MCI no longer exists, its successor, theÂ Management Standards Centre, has continued to use this definition. Same difference? At the core of this definition management is about purpose, structure, disciplines, processes, delivery and the mechanics of an organisation. We can contrast this with leadership, which is about vision, direction, influence, communication and the aspirations of people. Ancient Romans and Anglo Saxons One way of thinking about leadership versus management is to consider the differences between the Ancient Romans and the Anglo Saxons. The Ancient Romans were structured, well organised and disciplined. They were role models for management. The Anglo Saxons operated as small tribes, led by charismatic chieftains who ruled by the will of their people and based on loyalties to a territorial ideal. Their style exemplified leadership. Authority and power Managers get their authority and power from being appointed to a position by more senior managers. Leaders get their authority and power from being able to influence and persuade others to follow them. This is why I often refer to leaders being recognised as such by their followers. In fact, they canât be leaders until they have people to follow them! This point about authority does raise the possibility of conflict between those appointed (ie, managers) and those anointed (ie, leaders). But thats a very different meaning of management versus leadership! Short, medium or long term view Another difference between leadership versus management is that managers, as disciplined organisers and deliverers, often have to focus on the short to medium term whereas leaders, who provide vision and direction, are primarily concerned with the medium to long term. Perhaps I am oversimplifying this distinction but it might help us to understand that leadership versus management are two different, if related, functions. Things right or right thing? You might have heard the saying thatÂ âManagers do things right, leaders do the right thing.â To put it another way, managers concentrate on tasks, rules and compliance (that is, doing things right) while leaders concentrate on people, principles and purpose (that is, doing the right thing). Separate and distinct, or related? These various distinctions between leadership versus management might come across as suggesting that leadership and management are completely separate. In reality, actual people don't do either one or the other. They probably do some of each. Strictly speaking its not leadership versus management. The two are not separate or bipolar. They overlap. You can think of them as on a continuum with many steps between the extremes. Think of the distinctions as the two ends of a slider control that can be adjusted to emphasise one function or the other. Each leader / manager will adopt an approach somewhere between the two extremes, reflecting their skills and preferred management orÂ leadership style. Skills and qualities Just as the role and functions of leaders and managers are different, so are the skills and qualities that people need to be good at each. I will examine theÂ skillsÂ andqualitiesÂ of a leader in detail elsewhere but just think what skills (things people can do) and qualities (things that people are) a good manager will need. They might include: Â· UnderstandingÂ goals and objectives Â· Well organised Â· Able to prioritise and plan Â· Good communicator Â· Works with groups and individuals Â· Decision maker Â· Works to systems, processes and procedures Â· Monitors, reviews and improves. And so on. Looking at this list, you might put some (but probably not all) of these items on a similar list for leaders. The two roles have their distinctive features but do overlap! In practice many people are good managers as well as good leaders. But it is also true that many good managers are not so good at leadership and many good leaders are not so good at management! An example from the television As I was writing this page, my family were watching a programme on the television. It featured a businessman setting up a new hotel. His vision was for a different style of hotel, totally flexible to demanding and wealthy guests who expected all services at any hour of the day or night. He challenged conventional approaches, was flamboyant and his staff and suppliers had many difficulties working with him. When he interviewed candidates for the position of general manager, he realised that he needed someone with different skills to his own. He looked for someone who excelled at being disciplined, organised and customer focussed. To put it another way, he sought a âmanagerâ to complement him as a âleaderâ, who would concentrate on management versus leadership - the latter rather then the former seeming to be what he enjoyed doing!. Leader and manager partnerships Many strong leaders rely on a very different person as their ânumber twoâ. They choose someone who complements them in that they have a very different personality, skill set and ways of working. In short, someone who is an excellent manager. These partnerships can often become very inter-dependent with the two people concerned moving jobs from organisation to organisation together. In conclusion ... To wrap this up, is there a difference between leadership versus management? Yes, but the two are related, they overlap and many people combine both roles, just emphasising one more than the other. So, while I am going to focus on leadership, in Learning-to-be-a-Leader, we might well get the added benefit of also learning some useful stuff about management. Leadership Theories An overview in everyday language OK. Why a page on leadership theories? After all, I said that I would help you learn the easy way, and that I would make learning to be a leader a practical process. Yes, thatâs true. But it will help if you can refer to some of the key theories of leadership, and their assumptions and implications, as you learn the practical things. My approach to leadership theory is to give you some pointers on this page, and then (as I develop the pages â please be patient) the chance to link into some more detail. If you want to learn more you can then read the original work and even buy the book (t-shirt, baseball hat, etc, if they are available). The choice is yours. So, here we go. 1. Naturalistic theories Naturalistic theories of leadership were the first to develop. They were built on the idea that leaders were born, not made. The earliest naturalistic theory was not really a theory as such, just a set of beliefs and assumptions. Every so often a society or culture threw up a great person who provided outstanding leadership. Just think of these examples: Â· Jesus Christ, the Messiah promised to the Jews. Â· King Arthur, a king who will unite Britain, defeat its foes and return when needed. Â· William Wallace, the liberator of Scotland against the English. Â· Abraham Lincoln, Who ended slavery in the USA. Â· Ghandi, the peace maker who held together the fragile alliance in India at the time of independence. At the time that people believed this explanation of leadership, in most societies the great leader was normally a man. One example of an exception was Boudicca, the queen of the Icene in ancient Britain. The belief or assumption was that such greatness could not have been learned but was inherent, part of their genetic make up. It was probably hereditary (or so it was believed)! This is one reason why ruling or aristocratic families emerged. As the scientific method began to be applied to psychology, the study of human behaviour, a new naturalistic approach to leadership theories emerged â trait theory. The trait theory of leadership still assumes that leaders are born, not made. But it sought to identify those personality traits associated with the best leaders, to help understand leadership and to identify people who, ahving the same traits, could (it was assumend) make good leaders. Trait theory still has its adherents. SomeÂ psychometric instrumentsÂ used in the recruitment of leaders were built on the idea of inherent or âbuilt inâ traits. 2. Functional leadership theories Functional leadership theories are based on very different assumptions. They focus on what leaders actually do. That is, their actions or functions. One of the best known and most influential of functional theories of leadership, used in many leadership training programmes, isÂ John Adair'sÂ "Action-Centred Leadership". From here it is a short leap to the belief that if one person can do something, then others can learn to do it. We are now in the world of leaders being made, not born. And we open up the possibility ofÂ leadership developmentÂ and planned leadership training. This question of whether leaders are born or made is part of the whole question of whether human behaviour is due toÂ nature or nurtureÂ . Functional theories of leadership are developed by studying successful leaders and identifying the actions and behaviours they show. Large studies with lost of data make it possible to correlate the actions with the successful results. 3. Situational leadership theories Functional leadership is all very well but it doesnât help us to deal with changes, different situations and the nature of the people being led. Situational theories of leadership were developed to find good ways of adapting leadership actions to meet the needs of different situations and circumstances. One classic situational model of leadership (Â Hersey & BlanchardÂ ) is concerned with identifying the ability (or competence) and willingness (commitment or motivation) of those being led, and then determining the best style of leadership to follow. Other approaches (eg,Â Lewin,Â Tannenbaum & Schmidt) suggest of continuums of leadership style. Leadership style here refers to the broad approach adopted by a leader. A leader's style of leadership is often based on a leaderâs own beliefs, personality, experiences, working environment and the situation at the time. Some leaders work within one leadership style. Others are more flexible and can adapt their style of leadership to meet the needs of different situations. 4. Autocratic vs Participative leadership theories These theories of leadership developed out of the concept of leadership style. However, they focus very much on the balance of power between the leader and the followers. Autocratic leaders tend to make decisions and impose them on others. They often believe that they are best placed to make the decisions, that others should accept their authority. Some such leaders have certain personality traits, such as a need to be in control of situations. Autocratic leadership is suited to certain situations, such as emergencies or time critical circumstances. But they donât tend to nurture other people or get the best results from followers who are capable and motivated. Participative leaders consult others and involve them in the decision making process. They may make the final decision but in consulting others they are demonstrating consideration, respect for others and the ability to listen. The assumption behind this approach is that it tends to be appreciated by followers who return the favour by being loyal and committed. Participative leadership also develops other people and builds support for the overall direction, leading to a shared vision and common goals. Participative leaders often also adopt a facilitative leadership style. That is, they empower and encourage others to take make decisions, take action and act with authority, normally within defined boundaries. 5. Transactional vs Transformational leadership theories Another way of looking at leadership approaches is to do with the type of work and the relationship between the leader and the follower. Transactional leadership theory is based on transactions or exchanges between the leader and the follower. It assumes that the working relationship is one where the leader issues the work, praises or criticises, rewards or punishes. The follower has little responsibility, other than doing as they are required, correctly. All works well if both leader and follower carry out their part in the transactions as expected. This approach is more often seen in low skilled jobs, where procedures are clearly defined or where there is little change. Transformational leadership theory is all about change. Transformational leaders inspire others to follow a vision. They create opportunities for people to show flair and to take responsibility for new ideas. They are often very extravert, charismatic and strategic. They see the big picture rather than the detail. They inspire great loyalty, providing they succeed. If they fail, or are seen to be hypocritical, the followers may well become disillusioned or cynical. Transformational leadership is more appropriate in fast changing situations, where people have high levels of skill and where the leader can afford to get involved in the detail. 6. Moral leadership Moral approaches to leadership emphasise the role of the leader in various moralistic positions, such as: Â· making the world a better place Â· treating people well Â· caring for the environment Â· religious beliefs Â· being true to, and acting consistently with, oneâs vision. Various leadership writers have included moral elements in their work. They tend to suggest that leaders are more likely to be successful if they have a positive impact on others - rather than lead others just to benefit themselves. Politicians and religious leaders, in particular, are expected to be moral leaders, partly because they address the issues above or adopt a moralistic platform. Business leaders are perhaps expected to be less moralistic. However, when they do truly act for the good of others in general, and not just themselves and their shareholders, they tend to be highly regarded. Related to moralistic leadership is the idea ofÂ leadership ethics, which are largely to do with the relationship between the leader and their followers. In conclusion â¦ There, it wasnât so bad after all - was it. Please use the links to look at these leadership theories in more detail and even to get hold of original material by the creators of these theori Leadership Skills Two Top Ten Lists for Leaders What are leadership skills? What skills do leaders need to learn to be successful, effective leaders? Before I give my answer to these questions, lets just remember that some people believe that leaders are born, not made. Others believe thatqualitiesÂ are more important than skills - that followers will follow a leader with the right leadership attributes, even if they don't have highly developed skills. My view? I believe that the best leaders are committed enough to develop both the skills and the qualities of good leadership and that one can complement - even compensate for - the other. At least to some extent. So, itsÂ reallyÂ important to learn the skills of leadership. It can give you an edge over the others (who haven't bothered to put in the work that you have). And lets also just remember the difference between skills and qualities. We learn skills. They enable us to do things that we couldn't do before. Qualities describe us as people. We can develop and improve our qualities but we do this mainly through reflection and self-determination. OK, now for the skills. I like to separate the skills of leadership into two lists - those needed by two different leadership types -Â transactional leaders and transformational leaders. Transactional leaders work within strategies, structures, policies and processes. Transformational leaders make change happen and are not constrained by current boundaries within organisations. So, here we go. These are my top ten skills that transactional leaders need to be successful: 1. SettingÂ goals and objectives. 2. Planning tasks and activities to meet goals. 3. Communicating with teams and individuals. 4. Recognising other peoples' strengths, limitations and potential. 5. Organising work and delegating to others. 6. Inspiring (motivating,Â persuading) others to act to meet goals. 7. Giving and receiving feedback. 8. Reviewing performance. 9. Resolving problems. 10. Continually improving processes. And these are my top ten skills for transformational leaders: 1. Creating a long-term vision of success. 2. Creating strategies and plans. 3. Thinking creatively. 4. InspiringÂ others to act in accord with the vision. 5. CommunicatingÂ direction. 6. Facilitating change. 7. Building consensus. 8. Developing teams and individual talents. 9. Driving achievement and performance. 10. Reviewing and celebrating success. The key thing about all skills - including the skills of good leadership - is that they can be learned, and improved with practice. On this site I will point you towards resources and development methods that will help you learn these essential leadership skills. Leadership Qualities My favourite list - and others There is no one definitive list of leadership qualities. You really have to choose the one you like best. What I do here is give you my favourite list - and some links to a few others. That way you can get the general picture of the commonly agreed qualities, or leadership attributes, that effective leaders have, or require. First though, what is a quality and how does it differ from a skill? A quality describes you as a person, whereas a skill describes something that you have learned to be able to do. Lets take a driving example. Drivers have to learn to control the car, to direct it to where they wish to go, adjust its speed and handle traffic. These are skills. But good drivers also need some qualities such as being attentive, careful, respectful of other road users. These qualities can be improved and developed but they still describe the person, rather than any skills or techniques that the person has learned to be able to do. Nevertheless, in any lists of skills and qualities of leaders, you will still find considerable duplication and crossover! What I like about leadership qualities is their aspirational, almost noble, essence. Just thinking about them can bring out the best in people. In looking at these lists, just ask yourselfÂ "To what extent do I have these qualities and how can I bring them out more in my dealings with others, to be a better leader?"Â Qualities tend to be developed through self-reflection and experience. So, here is my favourite list. I think it covers all the major areas and has a good balance. And when I look at the leaders I admire, they have many - even all to some degree - of these qualities. David Hakala's Top Ten Leadership Qualities 1. Clear vision - passionately held, communicated to others, at the centre of the leader's priorities and activities. 2. Integrity - acting outwardly in a manner consistent with their inner values. 3. Dedication - giving what time is needed to achieve the vision, setting the example. 4. Magnaminity - giving others the credit where they deserve it and taking responsibility for failures. 5. Humility - recognising that the leader is not a better person than their followers. 6. Openness - being prepared to listen to new ideas, even if they challenge their own view. 7. Creativity - thinking differently, developing new ideas, encouraging new ideas in others. 8. Fairness - treating everyone consistently and justly, not jumping to conclusions before hearing the facts. 9. Assertiveness - stating what one wants clearly, without aggression, while also respecting others' views. 10. Sense of humour - to relieve tension, diffuse hostility and to engage followers. There are ple What sort of Leader are You? An Introduction to Leadership Styles Leadership styles refers to the broad approach adopted by a leader. All leaders (at least all those leaders who already have followers) have one. If you are already a leader, that includes you. You just might not know what it is yet. But your followers do! Style is often based on a leaderâs own beliefs, personality, experiences, working environment and their assessment of the situation at the time. Some leaders work within one style. Others are more flexible and can adapt their style to meet the needs of different situations. So, what determines a leader's preferred leadership style? Decision making A very powerful part of your style of leadership is your need to make decisions. All leaders (including you and me) approach decision making based upon their own beliefs about their responsibility for decisions, as well as their followers' capacity to make decisions. A number of researchers have developed leadership style models based around decision making (eg,Â Lewin,Tannenbaum & Schmidt,Â Hersey & BlanchardÂ ). Each of these models look at a range of styles - from ones in which the leader makes all the decisions (and imposes them on the followers - what we would call an autocratic leadership style) to ones in which the followers are allowed to make decisions on their own (what we would call a facilitative leadership style). A key element in each of these models is the assessment of which style is most appropriate at a given point, and whether the followers are able and willing to make decisions themselves. If the leader miscalculates, the followers are not likely to respond the way the leader would hope! Imagine - you are a capable and experienced person, motivated and wishing to get on (does that sound familiar?). But your leader keeps all decisions to themselves, barks orders and doesn't respond to requests for help. If it sounds implausible, let me assure you - that is exactly what many people experience from leaders who have not learned to be a leader! Another element here is that the more flexible you are as a leader - and the more able you are to judge the needs of the situation - the more likely you are to adopt a style that will work. Personality Personality can be interpreted as the typical ways in which a person behaves. Personality develops as we mature and is normally fairly consistent (or stable) by the time we reach adulthood. As a result we can predict how someone might well behave in different situations, although of course the person concerned always has choice and free will. Some personality factors do influence our leadership style. For example: Â· Outgoing and sociable leaders are more likely to connect with people and communicate with them. Â· Tense leaders are more likely to be anxious about issues and communicate their worries to their followers. Â· Leaders with a high need to be in control are more likely to keep decisions to themselves and to dictate them to others. Leaders who are self-aware, who understand how their personality impacts upon others, are better placed to make good choices and adjust their style when needed. VariousÂ personality assessmentÂ questionnaires can be used to help leaders learn about the effect they have on others. That along with being willing to listen to feedback! Working environment The working environment can have a big impact on the leadership style you might adopt. The two main influences here are: Â· the demands of the organisation, its market, systems and processes Â· the culture of the organisation. Organisations that deal with safety critical products or services, that carry high risk, require fast responses or are coming under attack or criticism are more likely to foster aggressive styles of leadership. Those organisations that encourage continuous improvement and innovation, or which are keen to develop customers, staff and suppliers, are more likely to foster participative styles of leadership. Organisational culture refers to "the way things are done around here". It is the colective version of individual personality and determines how the organisation's leadership communicate and make decisions. An organisation's culture tends to reinforce compatible styles of leadership in its junior leaders. In conclusion ... So, leadership style is all about the approach you adopt as a leader. There are a number of styles available to you and a number of factors that might influence the style you will adopt. Whether you exercise flexibility and choice is down to you. A wise leader will do so! What is your natural style of leadership and what style, or styles, do you want to develop? Four Steps to Becoming a Leader In 2006 Larry Reynolds published four steps, or qualities, that he believed are essential to leaders in all circumstances and situations. I love this list (and his leadership philosophy)! It makes everything so simple. It is easy to remember and it captures the essence of leadership. Ok, it doesn't cover all of the skills but if you really want to be a leader - work at these four steps and develop the skills around them. You will then be seen as having the essential characteristics of leadership by your followers. Here they are. 1. Challenge the status quo. True leaders do not accept things as they are. They question and challenge what is there now and provoke others to do the same. Sometimes they spend some time out of favour for doing so. If they did not challenge, they would merely be following and would not be leaders. The military, politics, business and sport all have well-known examples of such leaders. Horatio Nelson, Winston Churchill, James Dyson and Alf Ramsey all challenged the received wisdom in their fields and, despite having to face up to sceptics, all are now household names in the UK. 2. Articulate a vision. Challenging the status quo without proposing a more attractive alternative wonât get you known as a leader. Leaders are positive people. As Napoleon said, âLeaders have to be dealers in hope.â Leaders achieve this by developing a vision of a better future. For Nelson it was an England free from the threat of invasion from across the channel. For Churchill it was a future without Nazism. For Dyson it was high performance vacuuming without the inconvenience of a bag. For Ramsey it was an England football side playing as a team and winning the World Cup. According to Reynolds, many company visions fail because they are not clear, exciting and achievable. 3. Win commitment to the vision. Having challenged the status quo, and articulated a vision, the leader now has to win support and commitment for that vision. Successful political leaders know that unless they connect with the hearts and minds of the electorate, the electorate wonât back them. Winning commitment means getting close to people, understanding their needs, concerns and aspirations. It means communicating the vision in a way that makes sense and is believable. Many would argue that Tony Blair well exemplifies the truth of this point; from both his ability to connect to the British electorate when he came to power in 1997 and his loss of that connection over the Iraq war. 4. Do the right thing. Reynoldsâ final essential quality of a leader is about the morality andethics of leadership. With our inquisitorial media, leaders in the public eye cannot get away with allowing their private life to be at odds with how the public, or their followers, expect them to behave. He compares John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton to demonstrate how private behaviour was hidden from the public in the 1960âs but exposed in the 1990âs. Leaders in less high profile positions should similarly remember that what they say and what they do should be consistent. In my experience, the lack of consistency in senior management behaviour is the most frequently used basis for questioning the intentions behind management initiatives. Trust and respect are only earned over time, yet can be lost in a careless instant. Integrity and ethics have never been more important issues for leaders. And in a more cynical, less deferential, world, leaders who do not walk the talk, who do not act as they wish their followers to act, can find that they no longer have any followers. As with Reynoldsâ original paper, I have selected above publicly known leaders to illustrate these qualities and to link the steps. If you canÂ provide meÂ with examples from your own organisation or experience, I will be very pleased to update this page with their story! My tip for you, learning to be a leader? Use these four steps or qualities, follow them in sequence to develop your leadership thinking. Use theÂ skillsÂ andÂ qualitiesÂ lists to help you, but follow Larry Reynold's four steps as an easy to remember guide. References What are the seven habits that distinguish highly effective people? Introduction âThe Seven Habits of Highly Effective Peopleâ, by Stephen Covey, is the title of one of the best selling books of the last few years. It is about personal leadership, from which can follow leadership of others. Covey's work on the seven habits began with a review of âsuccessâ literature going back over 200 years. He identified a shift over the last fifty years away from a concentration on character and core values, what he calls the Character Ethic, towards a concentration on behaviour and actions, what he calls the Personality Ethic. Coveyâs research led him to propose an approach to successful management called Principle-Centred Leadership and to successful life called Principle-Centred Living. His belief is that we cannot become more successful or better people just by changing our outward behaviour or attitudes. We first have to address our principles, the way we see things in the world around us, our perceptions of others. We will then start behaving towards others in a way that is consistent with those principles. Covey argues that the principles we should adopt are timeless principles that underpin all civilisations, communities, religions and ethical systems. He lists principles such as fairness, integrity, honesty, human dignity, service, quality, excellence, potential, growth, patience, nurturance and encouragement. Coveyâs seven habits describe a way of thinking, living and doing that is consistent with these principles. The habits take considerable commitment to achieve. We first have to break old habits and adopt new ones. Covey suggests we work at the seven habits in order as they follow what he calls the maturity continuum, dealing first with dependence, then independence and finally interdependence. The Seven Habits 1. Be proactive This habit is about taking control of our lives. It involves : Â· Not allowing our lives to be shaped by other determining factors Â· Accepting responsibility for our actions and for what happens to us Â· Making our own decisions Â· Choosing our response to our circumstances Â· Not seeing our selves as passive victims in othersâ games. 2. Begin with the end in mind The second of the seven habits is about having clear goals, based upon principles and what we want to be. Covey suggests two ways of clarifying these issues. First, by considering what we would want people to say about us at our funeral. Secondly, by developing a personal mission statement that clarifies what we want our lives to be about. 3. Put first things first This habit is about having clear priorities, and spending our time and resources in a manner consistent with those priorities. To help us focus on these priorities, Covey challenges us to identify the one thing that we are not doing now that if we did it on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference to our lives. Covey suggests we should devote our time and energies to those important things that contribute towards achieving our goals, rather than reacting to the urgent things arise from short-term emergencies. 4. Think win / win The fourth habit in Covey's list of seven habits is about cooperation rather than competition. While recognising that competition in the market - and between teams - is important, competition within teams or between individuals working to achieve a common goal can be counterproductive. This habit is about achieving mutual benefit for all parties involved. This achieves shared commitment to an agreed course of action, as opposed to resistance and resentment from the loser. Much management thinking is now built on this principle and supply chain management is finding the benefits of this approach. 5. Seek first to understand â¦ then to be understood This habit is about the quality of the communication process between two parties. Active listening is about searching for meaning, gathering and clarifying information to develop an understanding from the otherâs point of view. Only then can we communicate our thinking and ideas in a way that is likely to be accepted by the other. Just as doctors have to diagnose (listen) before they can prescribe (propose) so we must understand another personâs point before we can suggest a way forward. This is the art of successful selling and well as getting the best out of others. 6. Synergise This habit is about valuing and building on differences for ultimate benefit of all. Synergy means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In a meal we do not eat each food type separately, all of one followed by all of the next. We mix foods up and create new flavours. A successful football team is not made up of players with the same strengths. It comprises people of complementary strengths who support each other. In both examples, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Something new and unique is created from the interaction of the components. To achieve this, we have to be open to new ideas and new contributions emerging from diverse sources. 7. Sharpen the saw The last of the seven habits is about taking time to attend to our self. It involves not being so engrossed in day-to-day activities that we lose sight of the need to replenish our personal resources. It is concerned not just with physical resources but also with our whole being. It is about not driving ourselves so hard that our future ability to live is compromised. In Coveyâs terms, this seventh habit is about making the others possible. Developing the Seven Habits Consistent with Covey's view, I believe that the habits have to come out of our personal principles. From that we can change our own behaviour. Others are then more likely to follow us. I have certainly taken on board the seven habits myself and they feature very strongly in my thinking and in my approach to life and to leadership. I have built many training programmes around the Seven Habits, using them to underpin leadership and other related content. If you would like to discuss developing a training programme - that uses the seven habits - for you and your organisation, pleaseÂ contact meÂ . Leadership Quotes Leaders in their own words For a while now I have been gathering some of the best and most famous leadership quotes together into my own library. Here are my favourites. I have found these quotes on leadership very inspiring - I hope you do to. Of course, some of the leaders are indeed famous and well known. Others you may not have heard of. One of the youngest was a teenage new employee on a team development programme I ran. Her insight and understanding was profound. Some of the quotes are not attributed. If you know who first said it, please let me know using theÂ contact meÂ form and I will put it right. In just a very cases they are unattributed because they were written by a shy and modest leadership consultant! "The problems with this world cannot possibly be solved by sceptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need people who can dream of things that never were." John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) "I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature." John D. Rockefeller âNot everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.â James Baldwin âLife is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.â Charles M. Shulz âSuccess in the marketplace increasingly depends on learning. Yet most people donât know how to learn.â Chris Argyris âWe must be the change we wish to see in the world.â Mahatma Gandhi "A mind is a fire to be ignited, not a vessel to be filled." Plutarch âImagination is more important than knowledge.â Albert Einstein âVision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.â Joel A. Barker âThe world is moving so fast that the person who says it canât be done is generally interrupted by the person who is already doing it.â Elbert Hubbard "He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him. He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is ignorant. Teach him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is a wise man. Follow him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep. Wake him." 12th century Arabic saying âIf you donât know where you are going, any road will take you there.â George Harrison "One can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." Plato Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching. Sing like nobody's listening. Live like it's heaven on earth. "If you want one year of prosperity, grow seeds. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people." Chinese proverb âLook wide, and even when you think you are looking wide â look wider still.â Robert Baden-Powell (1857â1941), Founder of the Scout Movement âIf you measure what you value, then others will value what you measure.â Give each letter of the alphabet a number equal to its position (eg, A = 1 & Z = 26), and add up the numbers for these words - Knowledge, Hard work, Attitude. Only one word adds up to 100%. The others are just not enough !! May there always be work for your hands to do. May your purse always hold a coin or two. May the sun always shine on your window pane. May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you. May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you. "Time is limited, so I better wake each morning fresh and know that I have just one chance to live this particular day right, and to string my days together into a life of action and purpose". Lance Armstrong âThere are no barriers, only challenges.â Gemma Brown âThe one constant in life is change.â âWe donât stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.â George Bernard Shaw âIf you donât want to grow old, then slow down the slowing down process.â Daly Thompson âIf you always do what youâve always done, Youâll always get what youâve always got.â âThe main obstacle to effective communication is the belief that it has already happened.â âI am who I have learned to be. I will be who I choose to be.â âWe awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold toward them.â Elbert Hubbard âMy philosophy of life is that if we make up our minds what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose...â Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), 40th President of the United States Either we are pulling together or we are pulling apart. Winners never quit and quitters never win. âNever doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.â Margaret Mead If you are too busy to help those around you succeed, you are too busy. âNone of us is as smart as all of us.â Ken Blanchard âThe greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.â Oliver Wendell Holmes âAn investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.â Benjamin Franklin âDonât find fault, find a remedy.â Henry Ford âHe who wishes to secure the good of others, has already secured his own.â Confucius âWe are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event but a habit.â Aristotle, 384 â 322 BC âIf I have been able to see farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.â Sir Isaac Newton âCelebrate what you want to see more of.â Tom Peters âThe most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.â Thomas Roosevelt âThis is the team. We are trying to go to the moon. If you canât put someone up, please donât put them down.â NASA motto âFour things come not back: the spoken word, the sped arrow, time past and the neglected opportunity.â Omar Ibnal-Halif âKind words can be short and easy to speak, But their echoes are truly endless.â Mother Theresa "How you spend your time defines who you are." Oprah Winfrey âI keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); heir names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.â Rudyard Kipling âOur doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.â William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English playwright & poet âLearning is not compulsory â¦ neither is survival.â W Edwards Deming (1900â1993) âAt one time leadership meant muscle; but today it means getting along with people.â Indira Gandhi âThe key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.â Ken Blanchard âLeadership and learning are indispensable to each other.â John F. Kennedy âThe ultimate leader is one who is willing to develop people to the point where they surpass them in knowledge and ability.â Fred A. Manske, Jr âLeadership has a harder job to than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.â Jesse Jackson âA boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting. A boss is interested in themselves, a leader is interested in the group.â Russell H. Ewing âIf you donât know where you are going, it doesnât matter how long it takes you to get there.â The Mad Hatterâs Tea Party âSystems make it possible, but people make it happen.â Brown & Sharpe âThereâs only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.â Vince Lombardi âThe door of opportunity wonât open unless you do some pushing.â âPain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.â Lance Armstrong âI believe life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It's seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future.â Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks Coffee âThe problems that exist in this world can not be solved by the level of thinking that created them.â Albert Einstein âQuality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.â Anthony Robbins âNo leader -> no vision. No vision -> no future. No future -> no hope.â Jonas, Paul, Richard, Robin, Sean & Steve âReview for a clearer view.â Cameron, Chris, Jason, Paul, & Ulrika âThe future is not ours to take. The future is ours to give.â âIdeals survive through change. They die through inertia in the face of challenge.â Tony Blair âThose who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day act out their dream with open eyes and make it possible.â T.E. Lawrence âDeep within man dwell those slumbering powers. Powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing. Forces that would revolutionise his life if aroused and put into action.â Orson Scott Marden âWhat lies behind us & what lies before us are tiny matters when compared to what lies within us.â Ralph Waldo Emerson âIt may be that when we no longer know which way to go we have begun the real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed.â Wendell Derry âOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be.â Nelson Mandela âYou see things and you say, âWhy?â. But I dream things and I say, âWhy not?â.â George Bernard Shaw âLife is what happens when you are busy making other plans.â John Lennon âInsanity is doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results.â Albert Einstein âLanguage most shows a man. Speak that I may see thee.â Ben Johnson âIf we learned to walk and talk the way we learn to read and write, everyone would limp and stutter.â Mark Twain âThe question is not whether we will die, but how we will live.â Joan Borysenko âFortune favours the bold.â Aristotle âLearn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.â Albert Einstein âThe first question which the priest & the Levite asked was, âIf I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?â But... the good Samaritan reversed the question. âIf I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?â â Martin Luther King, Jr. âYou can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.â Naguib Mahfouz (Winner 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature) âItâs not the strongest that will survive, nor the most intelligent. Itâs the most adaptable to change.â Charles Darwin âThere is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.â General Douglas MacArthur âWe define integrity as those shared values, attitudes and behaviours that help us to act correctly in our lives and at home, at work and in society.â Roger Steare & Christopher Jamieson âListen to the fool. You might learn something.â Plato âThe mind is like an umbrella. Its most useful when open.â Walter Gropius âIt is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.â Aristotle "Leaders have to be dealers in hope.â Napolean âStart by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.â St Francis of Assisi "There are no secrets to success: don't waste time looking for them. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work, and persistence." Colin Powell, Former US Secretary of State âLifeâs most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?â Martin Luther King "This became a credo of mine... attempt the impossible in order to improve your work." Bette Davis, Actress âWhat other people do or say is their stuff; how we react is our stuff.â "We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up in teams, we would be reorganised. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by re-organising. And a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.â The Ancient Roman, Petronus Arbitor, Governor of Bithynia âThe fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.â Vincent Van Gogh, Painter âEverything can be taken away from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms - to choose oneâs attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose oneâs own way.â Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor & psychiatrist âLive as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.â Gandhi âThe only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.â John Powell âPeople often say that motivation doesnât last. Well, neither does bathing. Thatâs why we recommend it daily.â Zig Ziglar âBetter to light a candle than to curse the darkness.â Chinese proverb âYou will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.â Henry Drummond, 1851-1897 Scientist, Evangelist and Author âAll our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.â Walt Disney âA journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.â Lao Tzu âLife is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it onto future generations.â George Bernard Shaw âChange starts when someone sees the next step.â William Drayton âThe more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.â Oprah Winfrey âAll of the great achievers of the past have been visionary figures; they were men and women who projected into the future. They thought of what could be, rather than what already was, and then they moved themselves into action, to bring these things into fruition.â Bob Proctor âA happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.â Hugh Downs, Veteran Journalist âYou can tell more about a person by what they say about others than you can by what others say about them.â Leo Aikman, Writer and Newspaper Editor âKeep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.â Mark Twain, 1835-1910, Writer and Humorist âGod, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.â Attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr âIn all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.â Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970, Author and Mathematician âA dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.â John Lennon âIn the presence of greatness, pettiness disappears. In the absence of a great dream, pettiness prevails.â Robert Fritz Composer, Filmmaker and Author âNever does a man portray his character more vividly than when proclaiming the character of another.â Winston Churchill, 1874-1965 âEffective teams realise dreams.â Gary, Haydon, Karl âWhat we learn today will shape our tomorrow.â Graham, Ian, Mat, Michele âIf you always have the same idea, you will always have the same result.â Anna, Jim, Kezban, Nathan âI am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.â Helen Keller, 1880-1968 âI can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.â Abraham Maslow, 1908-1970, Psychologist âNo one can make you feel inferior without your consent.â Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962, Former First Lady of the U.S. "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own." Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881, Former British Prime Minister âTo give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.â Douglas Adams âPicture yourself vividly as winning and that alone will contribute immeasurably to success. Great living starts with a picture, held in your imagination, of what you would like to do or be.â Harry Emerson Fosdick, 1878-1969, Minister âWe act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.â Charles Kingsley, 1819 â 1875, Author & Clergyman âYou can and should shape your own future; because if you don't someone else surely will.â Joel A. Barker âNo one will thank you for taking care of the present if you have neglected the future.â Joel A. Barker âTo accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.â Anatole France, 1844-1924, Novelist âNurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.â Benjamin Disraeli, 1804-1881, British Statesman and Prime Minister âThere is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. True nobility comes from being superior to your previous self.â Hindu proverb âWhat man is a man that does not make the world better?â Balian, âKingdom of Heavenâ, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, 2005 âNo person was ever honoured for what they received. Honour has been the reward for what they gave.â Calvin Coolidge, 1872-1933, Former President of the United States âFew things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon them and to let them know that you trust them.â Booker T. Washington, 1856-1915, Educator and Writer âIf you want to know your past - look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future - look into your present actions.â Chinese proverb âIn times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.â Eric Hoffer âOne's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.â Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884-1962, Former American First Lady âA hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.â Christopher Reeve, 1952-2004, Actor and Speaker âThe greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.â Benjamin Disraeli 1804-1881, Former British Prime Minister âThere is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.â Quote by Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare (1564-1616) âLook wide, beyond your immediate surroundings and limits, and you see things in their right proportion. Look above the level of things around you and see a higher aim and possibility to your work.â Robert Baden-Powell (1857-1941), Founder of the Scout Movement âPeople think I'm disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference.â Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007 Opera Singer âWe make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.â Winston Churchill "If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can't accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through." Rosslyn Carter, Former First Lady of the United State of America âFar away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.â Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888, Author âPeople who consider themselves victims of their circumstances will always remain victims unless they develop a greater vision for their lives.â Stedman Graham, Speaker, Author and Educator âIf you know what to do to reach your goal, itâs not a big enough goal.â Bob Proctor, Author and Speaker âIt is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.â William James, 1842-1910, Psychologist, Professor and Author âThe greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.â Nelson Mandela âReally big people are, above everything else, courteous, considerate and generous - not just to some people in some circumstances - but to everyone all the time.â Thomas J. Watson, 1874 - 1956, Founder of IBM âWhen you face your fear, most of the time you will discover that it was not really such a big threat after all. We all need some form of deeply rooted, powerful motivation - it empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams.â Les Brown, Speaker & Author âThings turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.â Art Linkletter, Radio and TV Personality âIt is good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven't lost the things money can't buy.â George Lorimer, 1867-1937, Editor of Saturday Evening Post âMake each day useful and cheerful and prove that you know the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be happy, old age without regret and life a beautiful success.â Louisa May Alcott, 1832-1888, Author "You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down." Mary Pickford, 1893-1979, Actress and Producer