Self-Leadership and ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’

mathias-sager-self-leadership.jpg

Content

  • Self-leadership process and the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’
  • Emotional self-leadership and authenticity
  • Educational, physical, health, stress, and coping benefits of self-leadership
  • Self-leadership competences in leadership development, recruitment, and work performance

Self-leadership process and the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’

Modern leadership at increasingly challenging workplaces tends to move away from the mere function of supervising employees but aims to empower the workforce to improve organizational effectiveness, e.g., managers being able to rely on their people [1]. “Self-leadership is the process through which individuals target their cognitions and actions toward desired outcomes” [2]. Desired outcomes may be intrinsically motivated [3], or externally influenced, i.e., being learned as, for example, when being asked to set performance goals in an organizational setting [4]. Such task motivation, as well as cognitive thought strategies like visualization, positive affirmations and the examination of personal beliefs, are positively related to career development [5]. These strategies are also supporting a charismatic leadership style [6]. Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ profile can be used to measure self-leadership competency and includes the following seven habits [7], p. 1424:

  1. Be Proactive (take responsibility for your own behavior),
  2. Begin with the End in Mind (have a clear vision of what to achieve and accomplish),
  3. Put First Things First (focus heavily on highly important but not necessarily urgent activities),
  4. Think Win-Win (look for synergistic solutions to problems),
  5. Seek First to Under- stand (listen with the intent to fully understand the other person, both emotionally and intellectually),
  6. Synergize (believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts), and
  7. Sharpen the Saw (seek continuous improvement).

Emotional self-leadership and authenticity

Cognitive and behavioral processes also involve emotional responses as evidenced by neuroscience [2]. Emotion regulation is part of emotional intelligence [8] and together with self-leadership could be conceptualized as emotional self-leadership [9]. When situations cause a person to hide or express feelings differently than the actual emotions, compromised authenticity comes with negative consequences for an individual’s well-being. Inauthenticity may also affect the interaction with others and therefore impact relational effectiveness, be it in private or at the workplace [9].

Educational, physical, health, stress, and coping benefits of self-leadership

Self-leadership can, as a related training program with soldiers showed, significantly improve educational and physical achievements. Further benefits are higher levels of self-efficacy and reduced stress [10]. Healthy self-regulation in high-stress environments as studied in academia can potentially be even increased when combining self-leadership with mindfulness training [11]. For example, cancer patients with self-leadership skills were found to cope better with their disease [7].

Self-leadership competences in leadership development, recruitment, and work performance

Some researchers suggest that self-leadership may help women leaders reflect on themselves to improve their leadership of others [5]. Similarly, the concept seems to be promising for leadership development and recruitment in general [12]. By supporting unsatisfied employees (e.g., contractors concerned about their status of employment) in their self-leadership, perceptions of the workplace can be improved [1]. Extended to the team and societal context, self-leadership is helping team development and performance that will stimulate socio-economic growth [13]. Despite all these general promises, in an organizational workplace context, the following differentiation has to be made. Behavioral strategies such as goal setting are indeed effective strategies, but self-navigation by natural motivation and constructive thought patterns did not positively influence performance in organizational work environments [14].

References

[1] Jooste, K., & Le Roux, L. Z. (2014). The practice of self-leadership in personal and professional development of contract nursing staff in the environment of a higher education institution. African Journal For Physical, Health Education, Recreation & Dance, 275-285.

[2] Yefei, W., Guangrong, X., & Xilong, C. (2016). Effects of emitional intelligence and self-leadership on sstudents’ coping with stress. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 44(5), 853-864.

[3] Ho, J., Nesbit, P. L., Jepsen, D., & Demirian, S. (2012). Extending self-leadership research to the East: Measurement equivalence of the Chinese and English versions of the MSLQ. Asian Journal Of Social Psychology, 15(2), 101-111. doi:10.1111/j.1467-839X.2011.01366.x

[4] Catarina, G., Luís, C., António, C., & Pedro Marques, Q. (2015). Better off together: A cluster analysis of self-leadership and its relationship to individual innovation in hospital nurses / “É melhor em conjunto”: Uma análise de clusters à auto-liderança e a sua relação com a inovação individual em enfermeiros hospitalares. Psicologia, (1), 45.

[5] Dizaho, E. K., Salleh, R., & Abdullah, A. (2017). Ascertaining the Influence of Task Motivation and Constructive Cognition of Self-leadership on Career Development of Women Leaders. Global Business & Management Research, 9439-454.

[6] Anyi, C., I; Heng, C., Amber Yun; Ping, L., Hsien Chun, C., & Yingtzu, L. (2011). Charismatic leadership and self-leadership : A relationship of substitution or supplementation in the contexts of internalization and identification?. Journal Of Organizational Change Management, (3), 299. doi:10.1108/09534811111132703

[7] Yun, Y. H., Sim, J. A., Jung, J. Y., Noh, D., Lee, E. S., Kim, Y. W., & … Lee, S. N. (2014). The association of self-leadership, health behaviors, and posttraumatic growth with health-related quality of life in patients with cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 23(12), 1423-1430. doi:10.1002/pon.3582

[8] Furtner, M. R., Rauthmann, J. F., & Sachse, P. (2010). The Socioemotionally Iintelligent Self-Leader: Examining Relations Between Self-Leadership and Socioemotional Intelligence. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 38(9), 1191-1196. doi:10.2224/sbp.2010.38.9.1191

[9] Manz, C. C., Houghton, J. D., Neck, C. P., Fugate, M., & Pearce, C. (2016). Whistle While You Work. Journal Of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 23(4), 374-386. doi:10.1177/1548051816655993

[10] Lucke, G. A., & Furtner, M. R. (2015). Soldiers Lead Themselves to More Success: A Self-Leadership Intervention Study. Military Psychology, 27(5), 311-324.

[11] Sampl, J., Maran, T., & Furtner, M. R. (2017). A Randomized Controlled Pilot Intervention Study of a Mindfulness-Based Self-Leadership Training (MBSLT) on Stress and Performance. Mindfulness, 8(5), 1393-1407.

[12] Ross, S. (2014). A conceptual model for understanding the process of self-leadership development and action-steps to promote personal leadership development. Journal Of Management Development, (4), 299. doi:10.1108/JMD-11-2012-0147

[13] Kristina, H., & Udo, K. (2012). Self-leadership and team members’ work role performance. Journal Of Managerial Psychology, (5), 497. doi:10.1108/02683941211235409

[14] Curral, L., & Marques-Quinteiro, P. (2009). Self-leadership and Work Role Innovation: Testing a Mediation Model with Goal Orientation and Work Motivation. Revista De Psicologia Del Trabajo Y De Las Organizaciones, 25(2), 165-176.

About mathias sager

Thinking and writing for happiness, painting colorfully, and enabling personal growth for all. Fostering co-operative and humanitarian principles, economic and social equality, as well as environmental sustainability. Using broad international experience and progressive, egalitarian and global outlook to promote care for the next generation.
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Self-Leadership and ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’

  1. The book “the 7 habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Roberts Covey is also worth reading

  2. Cool. And actually helpful for me today, personally! Thank You and Cheers!!! 🙂

  3. Georgie says:

    Hi,
    From my own experience, I can testify that reading the “7 habits of highly effective people” has offered me valuable lessons in how to better manage myself.
    Effective self-leadership is a factor of personal and professional success that is often overlooked. This is equally true – if not more – when it comes to the emotional aspects of leadership, since managers and leaders tend to ignore any “soft” emotions and just focus on “hard” facts. However, emotional leadership can be a powerful tool towards the achievement of smooth long-term success, because it has such a strong impact on people.
    Another life-changing book that has really impressed me is “The way of the leader”, by Donald Krause.

    • mathias sager says:

      Thank you very much for your first-hand feedback. I will definitively have a look at your recommended book. Much appreciated.
      It’s good to hear about the importance of emotions in leadership. I agree with your points. Emotions are the means by which the unconscious mind is impressed. Therefore, as people follow their deep beliefs, this ‘soft’ aspect is not only more human but also more effective in leadership. Especially where more sustainable, long-lasting changes shall be achieved. Hope you are part of an environment with such a long-term view as well?

  4. Patty says:

    This is absolutely a ‘method’ which needs to be implemented more. However, I also think of the danger of emotional leadership… using people’s emotions against them. So, I feel it is important this ‘leadership-style’ is taught well.
    And I also think of people who, unfortunately, need ‘tough love’, even in the work-environment…because they think their personal emotions are too important. In a work-sphere, I feel, you are there not only for your personal development, but also to help the business/organisation/firm you work for improve. It’s, as always, finding the right balance ?

Leave a Reply