This article was originally published on the Access Engineering blog.
Successfully leading a team takes a unique and different set of skills than those of an individual contributor. It’s hard to be a good boss! Many leaders and managers have been promoted due to their individual competence, but struggle when it comes to leading and managing people.
The 7 Habits for Managers® equips team leaders to address these basic issues and improve how they achieve sustainable results through and along with others. This solution distinctively focuses on who a manager IS, not just what they DO. What is unique about 7 Habits for Managers® is the lens used in this framework and the way it applies new mind-sets, skills, and tools towards becoming a great leader who can consistently deliver results.
Managers need to be proactive in their approach to address problems and achieve goals. (P2)
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Being proactive means recognizing your responsibility to make things happen. To achieve this you have to use your resourcefulness and initiative to break the barriers. Taking initiative does not mean being pushy, obnoxious, or aggressive, it is about being able to get everyone to understand the importance of their work in the team and how it affects everyone else’s work flow.
Knowing which direction to move is key to being able to efficiently tackle your work. (P3)
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
‘Begin with the End in Mind’ means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It is about developing an “outcome-oriented” mind-set in every activity you engage in—projects, meetings, presentations, contributions, etc. This is important to do because in the rush of daily routine it is easy to lose track of the end goal and identify the changes needed to be implemented to move towards it.
Todo lists are key to keeping track of what work needs to get done. (P4)
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Self-leadership and self-management are two essential traits needed here to help you decide the most crucial thing to attend and achieve. Many of us are often face the dilemma of differentiating between urgent and important activities in our lives. Something urgent requires immediate attention, it presses on us, but it may not have any bearing on our long-term goals. Important things, on the other hand, contribute to our mission, our values, and our high-priority goals but may not always create a sense of urgency within us to act immediately. As Managers we need to eliminate energy and time wasting tendencies, to ensure the execution of our teams’ goals with a proper planning cadence. But unfortunately most managers spend most of their time reacting to urgent matters at the expense of acting on important matters. Read about one of the best methods to differentiate between what is urgent and what is Important in our article here; “Eisenhower Decision Matrix”.
It is essential that everyone in the team to feel like their work is meaningful and beneficial to them and the team. (P5)
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Win-win refers to an agreement or a solution which is mutually beneficial and satisfying to all stakeholders. With a win-win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan. Win-win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.
Being empathetic and understanding of others perspectives is key to building trust and loyalty (P6)
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
This is the principle of empathic communication. The most important trait here is ‘empathic listening’. Listen to your colleagues, family, friends, and customers – but not with an intent to reply, to convince, or to manipulate. Simply listen to understand, to see how the other party sees things. The essence of empathic listening is not that you agree with someone; it’s that you fully understand him / her, emotionally and intellectually. Empathic listening creates an atmosphere of candid and helpful give-and-take by taking the time to fully understand issues and giving candid and accurate feedback.
Synergy is leveraging on multiple domains of expertise to create a product or solution more valuable than the sum of the parts (P7)
Habit 6: Synergize
Simply put, synergy is a habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork and open-mindedness, leveraging on different domains of knowledge and experience to find new solutions to existing problems. But it doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a process that requires whole teams to bring their personal experience and expertise to the table. Together, a team could produce far better results than each member could individually. Synergizing lets us discover things we are much less likely to discover by ourselves individually , thus increasing our capability of being innovative exponentially.
Life is a marathon not a sprint, so a sustainable approach is best if you wish to get far. (P8)
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
A logger can complete his work faster & easily if he takes a break and sharpens his saw. Likewise, the phrase “sharpen the saw” means enhancing the greatest asset you have – yourself. To do thi you need to consider how to achieve self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual.
Physical – exercise, nutrition, stress management;
Mental – reading, visualizing, planning, writing;
Social/Emotional – service, empathy, synergy, security;
Spiritual – spiritual reading, study, music, art, meditation, prayer, or service.