Dr Stephen Covey’s book that was published in 1989 entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” became a highly influential tome throughout the 20th Century. It explored the habits and guiding principles that help you change both personally and professionally thus becoming effective as a leader and ethical communicator.
He described three distinct phases of personal growth that become habits as we move through them and towards our desired goal. They are Dependance, Independence and Interdependence.
This forms the beginning of the journey, whereby we are dependent on others. If we did not personally develop and implement a strategy for this then we would always remain within this phase.
Through developing on a personal level, we become a lot more independent. We begin to take control of our actions in a more responsible manner.
It is at this stage that we become most effective. We do need others to help us achieve our desired goals but we are generally more self-reliant. It is at this stage that we realise that by working together as a team we will achieve greater results.
The seven habits then help guide us through each of these phases of personal development. Good leadership and ethical behaviour are intertwined. By embracing one, the other will follow.
- Being proactive and wanting to get ahead is always at the start of this process.
- Begin with the end result in mind. Develop a mission statement for a project and proactively manage the goals that you have set yourself. Managing your time effectively is essential.
- Think that the situation will be a win win. You can do this by finding a solution that benefits both the parties involved, this will help with any potential negotiation and conflict resolution.
- Seek first to understand and then to be understood. If you learn about the concerns and ideas of others it will help you to listen and understand before embarking on any discussion for an idea or a solution.
- Synergise. An effective leader will bring together all of these habits and create a result that is beneficial to all. This will form a conscious and continual improvement.
So what Makes an Effective Ethical Communicator?
- Lead by example.
- Always set clear objectives.
- Manage your and others performance.
- Make sure you praise any good work as often as possible.
- Always communicate effectively and clearly.
- Help others to have their own ideas and initiative.
- Help your teams to adapt.
- Help develop each of the team members.
- Treat everyone as an individual.
- Always remember to learn from your experiences and teach your team to do so too.
By establishing a clear foundation as a leader that is underpinned by ethical values it will automatically make leading a team manageable and fun. So by incorporating truth, respect, fairness, responsibility, integrity and accountability into your strategy and methods it will make for a highly effective manager. Always treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself and by setting an ethical example others will automatically follow.
Harry Price is a freelance writer and artist who lives on the south coast. He loves travelling, cooking and marathon training, though not necessarily in that order or at the same time!