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49069 Leadership and Responsibility Assignment - University of Technology Sydney, Australia

Subject learning objectives - Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate a developed capacity to be a life long student of leadership.

2. Identify and demonstrate a capacity to consider both positive and negative aspects associated with a set of ideas or a problem or opportunity and reach a personal position that places due weight on different perspectives. Students should be able apply critical analysis/thinking effectively.

3. Execute and proactively pursue self-reflection as a means of guiding their personal, managerial and leadership development.

4. Communicate a well developed awareness of the historical development and the thrust of the dominant leadership theories and be able to discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

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Question - Write a personal response to Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Answer -

Introduction

In the present report, the "seven habits of highly effective people" by Stephen R. Covey has been analysed and presented in the form of personal reflection. The seven habits include, (i) be proactive, (ii) begin with the end in mind, (iii) put first things first, (iv) think win-win, (v) seek first to understand then to be understood, (vi) synergize, and (vii) sharpen the saw (Pruzan, Pruzan Mikkelsen, Miller & Miller, 201seven). It is mostly observed that some of the leaders get promoted on the basis of their individual competencies, while others remain struggling to achieve a notable outcome (Rehman & Nasir, 2015). In such cases, the seven Habits of Highly Effective People act as a framework for the way of managing oneself and others. In accordance to a report, the author in this context has described seven habits that can make people happier as well as effective in their personal and professional life (Pruzan et al., 201seven). Taking about my experience, while working as a manager in a MNC company, I have incorporated these seven habits in my character and personality, which is reflected in my knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the task. I have realized that for accomplishing the highest desires in life it is necessary to exclude the unnecessary and bad habits and incorporate these seven habits. The present report has outlined the personal response to Covey's seven habits of highly effective people on the basis of my past and present work experience in personal and professional life.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

This habit encourages to be proactive, which means to take initiative and participate in each event of life (Rehman & Nasir, 2015). The most important aspect which I have learned from this habit is to be participative in nature and try to become responsible for making things happen around me. Being the team manager, I take the initiative to get involved in all local and international events and have achieved extraordinary results. In my opinion, blocking myself into a leading manager full of motivation, positive energy, and passion. Thus, it is necessary to look out for the next big opportunity which can be initiated further. Further, being a proactive person, it feels motivated to gain knowledge and take risks in life. Each and every situation in my life has been used as an opportunity to express my opinions and experiences. This has often resulted in a positive outcome for the entire team. Since, my childhood, the focus always persists on the events which are within the realm of control, is it increase the efficiency level. Also, it is firm belief that taking ownership of all the happenings in the life, despite blaming someone else. Taking such initiatives with the recognition of ability, is the key reason for present success as it helps in shaping the concerned decisions and actions.

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Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

This habit defines the ability to imagine things that cannot be viewed in through eyes. It energizes to imagine the expected future life, and make decisions accordingly (Vallas & Cummins, 2015). In particular, this is a psychological approach that helps in achieving the physical goal (Chvala & Johnson, 201seven). Based on my personal life, being visionary is always helpful in determining your priorities and convert the ideologies into actions. After completion of my higher studies, my parents advised me to become a doctor and also majority in my friend circle also chose to study medical science. However, I have a clear goal in my mind of becoming a business leader, since childhood. Thus, irrespective of external pressure, my focus concentrates on this vision and results into requisite outcome in the business studies. It was possible for me to achieve my current success, by making sure in the past that each of my activities will contribute to the success in the future. I apply the same approach in my professional courier, where outlining the personal mission statement, to achieve the future goal is the key driving force. In this approach, the activity of each day is planned according to my planned objective (Chvala & Johnson, 201seven). Thus, the outlined mental picture of my future expectation and continues to work accordingly in the form of sustained actions. It provides me security, guidance, power, and wisdom and moulds to a balanced character.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

This habit is about prioritizing things and sticking to commitments. This habit explains to avoid emergencies in the first place, so as to complete the top priorities. It emphasizes on differentiating between important and urgent tasks (Vallas & Cummins, 2015). Based on my personal perception, urgent tasks should be given higher priority than important tasks. Accordingly, prioritizing tasks is important to achieve a goal, which in turn also minimizes the wastage of time and resources. However, being involved in business practices, there are certain situations when urgent task arrives with short deadlines. In such cases, the habit of doing the first thing first cannot be followed. I prefer to use my self-awareness, and conscience to identify which task is important and urgent for a particular situation. This approach of mine has supported the team in securing mini international projects, which we received on an urgent basis. It has helped in becoming an ethical and principled person in my life. Therefore, my attitude is concerned, not as opposing to this habit, rather becoming flexible to evaluate wisely the "first thing", whenever necessary. Sometimes, due to this philosophy the situation demands to skip the pre-planned assignments and complete the urgent one first. Despite this fact, I believe it to be worth it because in this way we are able to accomplish all the tasks.

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Habit 4: Think Win-Win

In the win-win thinking habit, people focus on making both sides as the winner (Barrett, Gaskins & Haug, 2019). This is not actually of being nice towards someone, rather it depicts the ability to collaborate and interact with other parties by making them win and lead a good life (Rowledge et al., 201seven). In my opinion, the basic principle involved in interpersonal leadership is also to think "win-win" for joint benefit. Based on this principle, the enhancement of competency level enables to deal effectively with the collaborators and gain mutual satisfaction. Further, from the view- point of being a team member, it reflects genuine courtesy, appreciation and retained trust, cooperation, and value. In order to execute this habit, the problem must be viewed from the situational context and proposed a solution that is acceptable by both parties (Vallas & Cummins, 2015). I believe that the primary objective behind this principle is to develop a trustworthy relationship with my co-workers, partners, and clients. It is not always possible to come up with deals in which every party wins. Although, in most of the situations, the focus must be on deriving a win-win situation as it increases friendly relations, which in turn increases the probability of future collaboration and thus is profitable in context to the business.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

This habit focuses on understanding the "other person" first and then concentrate on "being understood". For this purpose "listening" is considered as the most important quality to understand the problem of the other side (Rehman & Nasir, 2015). Personally, I believe that if we are focused towards our own problems and difficulties, we are unable to understand the perspectives from other parties and hence creates miscommunication. During the initial days of my job, similar situation leads to the consequence of misunderstanding due to faulty business communication. However, after observing the conversation of my seniors, it is learned that understanding is more important than being understood. Since then, the attitude is always oriented towards understanding of the "what winning means" based on the situational context, organizational requirement, and the resource availability. Prior to outlining the necessities for any operation, it is also important to understand the project goals and perspectives of team members. With time, this strategy also helps in developing a change in communication skills and thus helps in avoiding the habit of objecting, arguing and opposing in the time of listening. In particular, it is learned that this habit is the key to build interpersonal communication. This habit has further developed the confidence including the team members and business partners associated with my routine activities. As a result, the communication are now open, free of any constraint while discussing the problems and focuses on solution for any concerned problem or risk within the organization.

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Habit 6: Synergize

The next habit is about synergy which explains to be open towards others and achieve an innovative and effective result as a team, instead of doing alone. Synergize habit encourages to work as a group rather than as a part (Germaine, Richards, Koeller & Schubert-Irastorza, 2016). It is basically the habit of creative cooperation and the openness of mind towards a new and different solution (Gayathri, 2018). This approach is possible through coordinated teamwork. I personally prefer to work alone or with limited personnel. Based on my past experience, the involvement of too many people in a single project often leads to failure. Also, with the involvement of a large number of people generate multiple ideas, and opinion and thus, there is a higher risk of conflict. However, in certain cases, such as a short time period or difficult project, I work by including more number of employees in a project. In order to avoid conflict, hence, the preference is to subdivide the project and assign it to each employee based on their expertise. In this way, the task is completed at minimum time and each employee is given equal importance where they can prove themselves.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Finally, the habit "sharpen the saw", defines the self-renewal of an individual in four key areas, social, physical, mental and spiritual (Spohn, 2018). It focuses on dedicating time on oneself for refreshment and recharging the body and soul (Gayathri, 2018). This habit helps to practice the other habits (discussed in the above sections) in a better way. Personally, I have also incorporated this habit in my routine life. This habit not only makes me feel relaxed but also gives energy. It is one of the most effective ways of self-development. For physical fitness, I focus on a healthy diet and regular exercise, while to become mentally fit my attempt is always oriented to remain engage in writing, reading, and learning. To achieve social strength, I try to connect socially and emotionally with others. Finally, the spiritual strength is achieved by meditating, gardening and listening to music. These habits are not developed in a day, rather it took several months to dedicatedly practice these habits in routine life.

Conclusion

It can be inferred that Covey's seven habits are highly helpful for emerging leaders. Covey has laid down the seven habits based on his own opinion principled centered leadership. There is no doubt that organizational success is fully dependent on individual performance at different levels. Thus, leaders possessing these seven habits can effectively encourage and manage the employees towards common organizational goals. Based on my personal experience, I have incorporated some of these habits in my daily life. However, I am not fully in favour of the "put first thing first" and "synergize" habit. According to my perspective, the priority of tasks should be made with urgency, rather than pre-planning. However, it is also important to implement the learned skills in the routine practice. Also, collection of feedback and suggestive opinion from the team members and peers are helpful, as they tends to review, monitor, and advice for any wrong-doings. I also believe that the inclusion of too many people in a single work creates confusion and complete. Upon a detailed study of these habits, I will develop my existing habits to become an effective leader. Hence, each individual should identify and eliminate the bad habits in them and try to include these seven habits based on their circle of influence.

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