Self-Leadership and ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’
- 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 . “Self-leadership is the process through which individuals target their cognitions and actions toward desired outcomes” . Desired outcomes may be intrinsically motivated , or externally influenced, i.e., being learned as, for example, when being asked to set performance goals in an organizational setting . 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 . These strategies are also supporting a charismatic leadership style . 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 , p. 1424:
- Be Proactive (take responsibility for your own behavior),
- Begin with the End in Mind (have a clear vision of what to achieve and accomplish),
- Put First Things First (focus heavily on highly important but not necessarily urgent activities),
- Think Win-Win (look for synergistic solutions to problems),
- Seek First to Under- stand (listen with the intent to fully understand the other person, both emotionally and intellectually),
- Synergize (believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts), and
- Sharpen the Saw (seek continuous improvement).
Emotional self-leadership and authenticity
Cognitive and behavioral processes also involve emotional responses as evidenced by neuroscience . Emotion regulation is part of emotional intelligence  and together with self-leadership could be conceptualized as emotional self-leadership . 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 .
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 . Healthy self-regulation in high-stress environments as studied in academia can potentially be even increased when combining self-leadership with mindfulness training . For example, cancer patients with self-leadership skills were found to cope better with their disease .
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 . Similarly, the concept seems to be promising for leadership development and recruitment in general . By supporting unsatisfied employees (e.g., contractors concerned about their status of employment) in their self-leadership, perceptions of the workplace can be improved . Extended to the team and societal context, self-leadership is helping team development and performance that will stimulate socio-economic growth . 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 .
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