The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey Book Review
As Ronald Reagan once famously said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” This quote connects to the most crucial habit of a leader - taking care of your troops. This means looking out for your troops, and putting them first, even if that means sacrificing on your part. Simple acts, such as allowing the troops to get food before the leader or checking in on the troops regularly, shows them that the leader believes that they are a priority to the leader. The well-known story with George Washington is one example of this, when he saw a lieutenant just standing around and watching the troops dig ditches, instead of being right beside them, because he knew that if a leader doesn’t show their troops that they are willing to put in work for the troops, the troops will reciprocate the support for the leader. Once a leader can motivate his troops and show them that the leader truly cares about their well-being, they will go to the ends of the Earth for the leader. Yet, if a leader isn’t concerned with the troops, and is only worried about completing the mission, he will have a difficult time getting his troops to follow him. This is especially true if the leader has a, “do what I say and not as I do” mental model, as the troops won’t trust him. This trust allows a leader to put faith in his team because he knows they will deliver and that they will do their best to complete the mission to the best that they can do.
The reason that this habit is the most important is that a leader needs a team to lead, yet if the leader doesn’t support that team, the leader won’t have a team to lead. Without a team, the leader doesn’t have people to work with to complete assigned missions, and it is near impossible for the leader to do it by themselves. Yet, if a leader worked hard to create meaningful relationships with their team, and gave the team the support that they needed to complete tasks assigned by the leader, there will be a team more willing to do the work assigned by the leader. Supporting the team is also important because, especially when a leader assigns a project, if the team doesn’t have clear directions for the project, they will be less likely to complete it to the extent that the leader needs them to. By allowing the team to ask questions and work together, with the support of the leader, the team and the leader are more likely to form a bond that will push the team to look out for the leader and to trust the leader in a way they didn’t before.
The habit that I need to work the most on is attitude, as it is sometimes difficult to keep cool when difficult situations arise, but if the team seems that the leader is level headed, they will be more likely to react in the same way. As the saying goes, attitudes are contagious, so if I am stressed out or worried about something, or even in a bad mood, that will carry over to the team. The main part of the attitude that I need to work on is making sure that it doesn’t affect the team, or even the people around me, as I wouldn’t want to drag them down just because I had a bad day, or something stressful came up. Overall, by working on my attitude, I think I can set an example for my team to show them how to keep a positive attitude, even when others around me may not feel the same way.
In conclusion, I believe that all the habits mentioned in the book are important, as they allow a leader to develop skills to better develop their team and themselves, which will ultimately push both the leader and their team to better themselves. Overall, the habits are things that almost all leaders can use to hone their leadership skills, and it will allow them to gain trust and to build better relationships with their teams that will help the leader in the future.