Saturday, January 24, 2009

Leadership and Management:

I have read Steven Covey’s ‘7 Habits of highly effective people’ at least a dozen times. As I begin in my new position as an ICT facilitator I am drawn to the concepts outlined in his book. With 10 schools and over 100 teachers to work with, the dynamics, range of experiences, capability and paradigms people hold towards learning will be extreme. It makes sense to promote a system of leadership guided by principles that we all understand alongside the skills, knowledge and tricks of the trade we will be developing during the contract. I see many parallels between the 7 habits and the new curriculum and with ICT becoming an increasingly more collaborative experience for learners; it will be an excellent lighthouse for our interactions.


Habit 1: Be Proactive
Change starts from within, and highly effective people make the decision to improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Develop a principle-centered personal mission statement. Extend the mission statement into long-term goals based on personal principles.

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Spend time doing what fits into your personal mission, observing the proper balance between production and building production capacity. Identify the key roles that you take on in life, and make time for each of them.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win
Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. In cases where a "win/win" deal cannot be achieved, accept the fact that agreeing to make "no deal" may be the best alternative. In developing an organizational culture, be sure to reward win/win behavior among employees and avoid inadvertantly rewarding win/lose behavior.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
First seek to understand the other person, and only then try to be understood. Stephen Covey presents this habit as the most important principle of interpersonal relations. Effective listening is not simply echoing what the other person has said through the lens of one's own experience. Rather, it is putting oneself in the perspective of the other person, listening empathically for both feeling and meaning.

Habit 6: Synergize
Through trustful communication, find ways to leverage individual differences to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Through mutual trust and understanding, one often can solve conflicts and find a better solution than would have been obtained through either person's own solution.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Take time out from production to build production capacity through personal renewal of the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Maintain a balance among these dimensions.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Heath for this summary, I haven't read this book and am now interested to do so. These 7 habits seem to be good common sense that all of us can learn by and follow through building relationships. Good luck this year in your new role.