Habits that Make You an Effective Person
How God Prepares us for Life started this journey looking at leadership – now we look at habits that can make a leader an effective person, and will draw much from Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. For a Christian leader there are two levels of personal leadership development: the providential and the personal initiative.
God Creates You for a Definite Purpose
By the providential level I mean the fact that as a Christian leader you know that God has created you for a purpose, and consequently he puts you in an environment in which you can grow as a leader and gives you the tools (including gifts) that enable you to exercise your leadership abilities.
As a responsive person who is aware of your purpose in life, you take the responsibility upon yourself of developing the qualities, skills and habits that make you an effective person.
Covey’s “habits” are among those I would recommend for those who want to be effective in their performance as leaders and as persons.
Begin with the End in Mind
Covey first wrote about seven habits and then wrote another book about an eighth habit which he calls “from effectiveness to greatness”. But here I will share some insight into two of Covey’s first seven habits. These are Habit 2: “Begin with the end in mind”, and Habit 7: “Sharpen the saw”.
Beginning with the end in mind encourages you to ask such questions as: When you retire from active life, what do you want to have achieved? Or, if you want to be an entrepreneur, what kind of business do you want to run, and where and how do you see yourself developing that business?
Mental Creation and Physical Creation
Beginning with the end in mind rests on two principles: First, you must have a sense of purpose in life. Second, you should know that all things are created twice: there is first a mental creation, and then there is a physical creation.
So in order to achieve your aim, create it first before it becomes. Have the concept in your mind first and then strive to translate that concept into reality, just as a building starts as a plan before it becomes a physical structure.
A way of beginning with the end in mind is to have a personal “mission statement” which is like a personal constitution in which you express what you want to be in life, your values, the qualities you need to develop and the steps you are going to take to achieve your goal.
Sharpen the Saw
Habit 7 is about self-renewal and self-improvement. Just as a saw that is used to cut needs to be sharpened from time to time so that it remains effective, as human beings we need to keep on renewing and improving ourselves in order to remain effective.
Covey suggests that we need to sharpen our saw in four dimensions of our life which are referred to as the four intelligences: physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual intelligence. Denial of any of these reduces people to things — and things that are not effective.
Physical intelligence, for example, requires of us that we exercise regularly and eat good food; while intellectual intelligence is improved by reading good books and participating in activities that keep the mind active.
It is not unusual, for instance, that people can quickly degenerate and even die soon after retiring from active work.