For years business leaders have been following Steven Covey’s 7 Habits as guiding principles in leading and managing their business, whatever its size. So why is there a need for an 8th habit of trust and all its component parts to be added and what exactly does it mean for business leaders?
The fact that the subtitle of the book is “Finding Your Own Voice and Teaching Others to Find Theirs” perhaps gives you a clue about what this 8th habit really means for business leaders that’s an addition to Steven Covey’s original list of 7 habits. Because it really does have some of those extremely valuable and profitable lessons to give all business leaders no matter how big or small their business about the empowerment of its people and the associated crucial skill of delegation.
However, perhaps the most important part of the overall message is that we are all, whether we like it or not, now in the new age of the “knowledge worker”. And that means everyone, from the lowest paid worker to the highest paid leader, is inherently recruited because they are an expert in their own field and as a result they must be treated with the respect they deserve as an expert in order to get the best business results.
The reason why there’s a need for this 8th habit to be added to the original list of 7 habits is because of this fact that the world in which we live and work and run businesses has significantly changed and is continuing to change at such a rapid pace. Because of the democratisation of information as a result of the invention of the World Wide Web, we are all much more aware of everything around us. And for business leaders that means that the consumer revolution has accelerated dramatically.
However, Steven Covey says that something vital is missing in all of this massive change because leadership and leaders have not developed and kept up with the changes going on around them in the world. And for them that means that from their boardrooms to their training rooms, leadership is being continuously challenged on a daily basis, yet no new leadership model has been developed to match this.
So, in the 8th habit, Steven Covey introduces these four roles of the new leader – modelling, pathfinding, aligning and empowering – and explains how those 4 qualities can change leaders and their organisations.
He links them all together to discuss specifically how the trust can be lost throughout whole organisations and how it is vital it is that every organisation if it wants to survive must bring trust back into every aspect of the business.
And as an example, Steven Covey shows leaders in this 8th habit how they can go from what he calls a ‘want to’ person to a ‘can do’ person and how this can completely transform the people and therefore the business.
By implementing this 8th habit, leaders will discover how: to apply these four vital roles to establish the trust to make business growth happen; to build and then subsequently sustain an authentic atmosphere of mutual respect and openness; to keep and continuously inspire the business’ most talented knowledge workers; to apply at all times the creative co-operation required to reach new levels of personal and business performance; to develop leadership at all levels of the organisation; to take advantage of people’s strengths and compensate for their weakness; and to reduce the toxicity of cynicism and therefore improve morale.
So, make it a new year resolution for 2020 to implement this 8th habit and watch what happens!