In the book Principle-Centered Leadership, Stephen Covey provides four main principles that people should seek to utilize in their personal and professional lives. The principles described in this case include security, guidance, wisdom, and power. With these principles in place and making them the foundation of our lives, Covey believes that this is the key to developing the rich internal power in our lives. This book is divided into various sections with the first section dealing with personal and interpersonal effectiveness and the second section covering managerial and organizational development. Reading this book helps one understand the guidelines and pointers on ways to attain a principle-centered perspective.
Covey indicates that there are no quick fixes or short-term approaches to solving problems. He points out to the Law of the Harvest where one cannot expect to reap a bountiful harvest if one did not plant. The principle of security deals with the personal sense of worth, identity, emotions, self-esteem, and personal strength. The principle of guidance seeks to provide directions we receive in life. The principle of wisdom assists in attaining a sense of balance, judgment, discernment, and comprehension. The principle of power deals with the capacity to act, strength and courage to accomplish something. The combination of these principles’ point people in the right way and offer direction needed for daily lives. One characteristic of the principles is that they are constant and applicable at all times and in all places. With these principles at the center of our lives, (both personal and professional lives), it is expected that other aspects will be unified and integrated.
In reference to principle-centered leadership, Covey highlights that this needs to be practiced from the inside-out. This implies that personal and organizational transformation should come from within. It implies that leaders cannot control the actions of others but can only take charge of the personal decisions and actions. To attain personal and organizational effectiveness, one is expected to show commitment and ability to view things from the long-term perspective. Principle-centered leaders need to create better, more trusting, and communicative relationships with others in their workplace and at homes.
Covey highlights the characteristics of the principle-centered leaders. These include; continually learning, service-oriented, radiate positive energy, believe in others, operates balanced lives, view life as an adventure, are synergetic, and have self-renewal (Covey 1992). With these characteristics, Covey creates a roadmap for the leaders wishing to follow the principle-centered path. Trust is a key issue identified by Covey as being essential for this type of leader. The presence or absence of is trust is indicated to be at the main cause of success or failure in relationships and in results acquired in businesses, organizations, and the governments.
Covey does not just make the proposition for the principles-centered leader but goes deeper and describes where the principles may be applied. He described four levels, personal, interpersonal, managerial, and organization levels, and described them as appropriate incidences where the principles may be put into use. At a personal level, the principles aim at enhancing the relationship with self. Interpersonal levels deal with how one relates to others. The managerial level is described as the personal duty in ensuring that a job gets accomplished. At the organizational level, one is required to organize the people. Covey urges people seeking secondary greatness of public recognition to first ensure that they attain primary greatness of character.
While reading this book, I could relate it well with Christians perspectives on leadership. The principle-centered leadership requires an individual to be the center point. This matches to a call in the Book of Luke where every individual is required to do to other individuals what they would like done unto them. This message is emphasized by Paul when he addresses the Philippians by telling them to avoid being selfish, and acting to please others but rather be humble and concerned about others more than they do about themselves. Just like the proposition on the principle-centered leadership that motivation should come from within. The Book of Proverbs makes a call in this line by encouraging people to guard their heart more than anything else because it is a critical determinant in one’s life.
Among the people who utilized the principle-centered leadership in the Bible is the parable of the Shrewd Manager. This manager made a personal initiative and considered the situation he would face in case he was fired. This showed a personal initiative to create a change. This is the kind of individual motivation that Covey discussed in his book. The manager then considered how people would perceive him should he be fired. This shows that the Shrewd Manager sought to establish relationships with others. This is within the second level that Covey had suggested for application of the principles. Out of his actions, the shrewd manager’s actions pleased the employer who commended him for his acts. This relates to the managerial and organizational levels as prescribed by Covey for the application of the principles of security, guidance, wisdom, and power.
BibliographyCovey, Stephen R. Principle centered leadership. Simon and Schuster, 1992.
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