Back in the late ‘80s, Stephen Covey published his wildly successful ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ 25 million or so copies later it still is a ‘highly effective’ set of lessons that any of us can take on board and use in our daily lives – the habits are as relevant in many ways to our personal lives as they are to our business or financial projects. But how are these habits applicable to leadership? Are there any further lessons that come out of the original 7 habits that we can use when it comes to leading others? At Holborn Assets, we think there are. Here’s quick look at how the original 7habits of highly effective people can improve your leadership style, today.

  1. Be proactive

Covey’s first 3 habits focus on self mastery – crucial if you’re going to lead by example. Proactivity is all about looking at how you can constantly expand your sphere of influence – by proactively looking to do this, rather than simply waiting for things to happen to you, you will become more effective as a leader. The flip side of this is also developing the ability to identify what you can’t influence personally, and letting it go.

  1. Begin with the end in mind

As a leader, this is all about having a vision – but it’s also all about giving the people you lead the tools and resources they need to achieve whatever ‘end’ goal you’ve set for them. Where are you currently? Are you being realistic about what you and your team can achieve in the time you’ve set yourselves?

  1. Put First Things First

Focus first on what is ‘important and urgent’, then ‘important and not urgent’, then ‘not important and urgent’, and finally on the ‘not important and not urgent’. It sounds obvious, but being able to prioritise like this can be the difference between running around fire-fighting, or showing real, personal and focused leadership.

Covey’s next habits focus on how you can work with others better.

  1. Think Win-Win

Team players understand that a mutually beneficial win is far more valuable than simply being out for yourself. So, lead by example and make sure that you’re engendering this approach in your team – make sure that everyone understands that you can achieve far more together than individually. Recruitment – and your ability to spot team players – is obviously critical here.

  1. Seek First to Understand. Then to be Understood

The ability to listen to and learn from others is critical as a leader – not just for your own personal development but also for the atmosphere of the team you are leading. People feel valued, and appreciate that you have made the effort to understand them – and so will in turn make the same effort themselves to buy in to your own personal vision for the team.

  1. Synergise

So, you’ve assembled a group of team players, you’ve listened to what they have to say and they’ve bought into your grand vision. The next step is to use your knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses to create synergies that will benefit the whole team – and allow you to achieve things that none of you could have achieved on your own.

  1. Sharpen the saw

It is up to you, as an effective leader, to create a culture of continual improvement within your team, and within yourself in terms of personal development. This is really about innovation – constantly looking for better ways of doing things, to create a model that is sustainable. Doing this also makes your team the kind of venture that people want to be a part of it – one that is constantly evolving, that is creative and that always wants to take on the next challenge even more effectively.

As leaders then, we can lean a lot from Covey’s original habits, and the ideas can be applied in many ways when we’re building teams. Our takeaways? Think about how you can be more proactive and resourceful, passionate and innovative in the way you go about your work. Inspire others to work with you, rather than for themselves. Build a network of people who can help you, and most of all, never stop listening to and learning from others.