Table of Contents
Seven Habits Profile
The “Seven Habits Profile” is a concept that was introduced by Steven Covey to describe the seven habits of effective leaders. By completing the profile, an individual is able to identify how the seven habits describe him or her and what to improve on to become a more effective person or individual (Covey, 2013). I completed the “Seven Habits Profile” in all the nine categories and my categorical results are as follows:
Outstanding (18 points)
- Think win-win
- Seek first to understand
- Sharpen the saw
Very good (15 points)
- Life balance
- Emotional bank account
Good (12 points)
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- Put first things first
Reflection on seven habits
I had a high score in the emotional bank category and this implies that I really care about the feelings of others. By being concerned about others, I am able to maintain good relationships and keep long term friends. For example, if I make a promise that I am going to complete a task, I will do anything to ensure that I keep my promise. As a leader, I tend to be emotional in terms of considering the concerns of others and understanding their point of view before making any judgments. I tend to build on interpersonal relationships as I understand that every person contributes to the end goal.
According to Covey, having a win-win approach enables leaders to acknowledge the contributions and success of others (2014). By focusing on other people’s feelings and concerns, I ensure that my followers are well positioned to effectively perform their duties. My style of leadership is also based on good listening skills and this puts me in a better position to understand and better work with my colleagues and followers. For instance, before performing a task, I tend to listen to my followers first before looking for the best way forward.
I also tend to take care of my mental, physical and emotional wellbeing as I understand that if I do not take care of myself, I would not be effective enough in completing my leadership tasks. Besides, whereas I work very hard to achieve set goals, I do not overdo things and I always take breaks. I also have time for friends and families despite my tight schedule. These habits might have influenced my high scores in the life balance and sharpening the saw categories.
From my total scores, it is evident that I a person-driven individual leader rather than a task-driven individual, I tend to put the concerns of others ahead of the task and at times, this could affect my effectiveness in attaining goals in a timely manner. As such, I need to try to less emotional and also concentrate on the task at hand. Another category that I need to improve on is beginning with the end in mind category. While I scored “good” in this category, I ought to have an outstanding score. Therefore, I need to improve on making a clear plan on what I want to achieve every week and every month. According to Covey, effective leaders must be able to carefully plan ahead and set meaningful goals to achieve success in the long run (2014).
Situational leadership is a theory that defines effective leadership as one that involves an understanding of the situation before choosing the appropriate approach (McCleskey, 2014). The situational approach is based on the idea that followers are on a developmental continuum and that the leader has a role of determining where the followers are and adjusting leadership practices to match this level (Shonhiwa, 2016). Subsequently, a leader must first understand the nature of the situation by understanding the type of task at hand, the complexity of the task, the skills of subordinates in accomplishing that task, and the desire of followers to achieve that task. Considering the different levels of followers in the developmental continuum, effective leaders should be flexible in their leadership style depending on the situation at hand. In an increasingly dynamic and diversified workplace, situational leadership is the most appropriate leadership style.
Based on the situational leadership principles, my strengths are as follows:
As a healthcare professional, it is important to have good listening skills as it is the only way one can understand a patient before taking any step. As a healthcare student, professional and worker, I understand the importance of being very attentive and trying to understand what my colleagues, patients and supervisors are saying. As a result, I have developed very good listening skills in terms of being attentive and looking at the person talking. This has enabled me to better understand situations and take the appropriate action. For example, being attentive to my followers’ concerns as well as what my supervisors require of me has made me become very efficient and effective in my work. Being attentive has been beneficial in various ways. For instance, I have been able to develop a positive relationship with people in my circles. I have also gained recognition with my previous supervisors and my organization has also profited from my good listening skills.
My second strength is that I work well with teams as I believe in putting resources and working together to attain a common goal. In the healthcare industry, I believe that it is essential to have team skills as most day to day activities require teamwork. I use my team skills to work together with my colleagues to achieve a common outcome, be it patient care or other administrative tasks. It is important for me to also know how to share and use shared resources to facilitate other people to succeed in an activity. Team skills are also one of the leadership practices that are supported by the situational leadership theory. According to the theory, to be effective, leaders must be willing to invest in leader-follower relationship and one way of doing so is having team management skills (Shonhiwa, 2016). My team skills have enabled me to be elected a team leader on various occasions. For the organization that I have worked for, my team skills has helped in efficient use of resources and minimized the number of mismanaged incidences.
When I made the decision to pursue a career in healthcare, my main goal was to help in manage patient conditions and contribute to better health and wellbeing of the society. Little did I know that this career is quite tasking and that only a flexible person would carry the day. Considering the dynamic healthcare environment, I am very flexible person and I can easily transition from performing administrative tasks to handling an emergency patient within seconds. Flexibility is one of the key characteristics of an effective situational leader as flexibility is required as one moves from one leadership style to another depending on the task at hand (McCleskey, 2014). As a leader, my flexibility has enabled me to handle every situation whether related to work tasks or employee issues. Being flexible has also enabled me complete tasks amidst challenges.
Despite my strengths as a leader, I also struggle with some weaknesses.
One area that I should pay more attention to is mentoring others and setting an example. Having worked as an assistant in the healthcare industry and having supervised many people, I realize that I have been poor at setting an example and mentoring others. Whereas I am good at listening to my followers and giving them support to complete tasks, I am poor at showing my followers how to perform tasks. Instead, I tend to give orders and this could be a major weakness. For example, after identifying areas that my employees need assistance, I tend to tell them what to do rather than showing them how to act in different situations. As a situational leader, I should be more concerned at the capabilities of my employees and providing the necessary assistance (McCleskey, 2014). This weakness has affected my leadership effectiveness in that my followers always come to me for assistance with common issues that could have been addressed before had I teach them how to do something instead of ordering them what to do. Ultimately, this affects my productivity and that of my followers.
Another weakness that I possess as a leader is that I am driven by emotions and that sometimes I care too much about the wellbeing of my followers instead of focusing on the task at hand. According to the situational leadership theory, while determining the type of leadership style to use in a situation, an effective leader must be able to assess both the task at hand and the capabilities of the employees (Shonhiwa, 2016). However, I often pay more attention to the capabilities and concerns of the employees more than the task that should be completed. In one instance, I had an employee who was undergoing some family problems that were weighing down on him emotionally. While I had a role as a leader to enquire about his wellbeing and offer him assistance where I could, I concentrated so much on the employee’s situation and ultimately, the employee did not complete his task on time. In another instance, I find myself too often opening my doors listening to the personal issues of my employees. While I should be approachable as a leader, I should not also pay more attention to the completion of the task. Rather, I should maintain a balance between relationships with employees and completing task.
Another thing that I struggle with is having a vision and communicating it to my followers. As a leader in the healthcare setting, my main goal is to help improve the health and wellbeing of the community. This is what drives me while performing my leadership duties and completing tasks assigned to me. However, I realize that even though I am supportive of my followers, I am not a good communicator of a vision. For instance, I was once in charge of a department that needed to cut resources and adopt work processes that were efficient. As a leader, my duty was to take part in creating a vision and communicating it to my followers. After consulting and brainstorming with my staff, I had identified pretty good ideas of attaining efficiency. Some of these ideas were teamwork and eliminating repeat work processes. Yet, I could not clearly communicate my vision and ideas to my followers. I only recall telling my staff what to do in order to work with minimum resources. This weakness has had a negative impact on my effectiveness as a leader because poor communication of a vision is more or less the same as a having no vision as all. This is because a vision can be accomplished only if the whole team understands the ultimate goal and how to achieve it.
Recommendations for leadership development
One thing that I need to work on as a situational leader is to adopt a coaching approach when it comes to influencing my followers. According to Lynch, McCormack and McCance, a key feature of situational leadership is coaching whereby the leader gives direction to followers but also tries to hear the concerns of followers (2011). Whereas I tend to show a lot of concern for my followers, I should also continue providing direction so that everyone plays his or her role while performing tasks. The focus should be maintaining a balance between providing direction and showing support for my followers. Showing support should also involve understanding the feelings of followers in regards to ideas and suggestions when it comes to the decision making process. It would be very inconsiderate for a situational leader to ignore the input of followers while making decisions in the group setting. By maintaining a balance between being highly directive and being highly supportive of my followers, i would be able to get more tasks done.
The second thing that I want to embrace is becoming more of a delegating and less of a directive leader. According to the situational leadership theory, a situational leader should be able to delegate task by allowing followers to independently perform their tasks and duties. This way, followers will be able to effectively use their knowledge and skills with minimal supervision. Besides, the leaders will be able to get tasks done even when he or she is not around to supervise followers. The performance gap that this recommendation gap will address is my weakness of being too much a directive leader and allowing my followers little or no independence. While adopting this approach, I should also remain to be supportive by providing resources, assistance and other forms of support when necessary. By putting this recommendation into action, I will be able to achieve more with my followers and enable my staff to remain being productive with minimal supervision. For my organizations, this will enhance my productivity and attainment of goals in a timely manner.
Another thing that I need to consider more as a situational leader is maintain a balance between being task oriented and relationship oriented leader. According to McCleskey 2014, situational leaders can either be task oriented whereby the leader influence followers to perform tasks or relationship oriented whereby a leader focuses on building a productive relationship with followers. Maintaining a balance between being task oriented and relationship oriented will help to address the performance gap of being driven by emotions and relationship with my followers. With this balance, I will be able to build relationships while also being able to influence my followers to perform tasks. Putting this recommendation into action will enable me to have more productive followers and complete more tasks.
SMART goal 1
One short term smart goal is that I want to improve my communication skills within the next six months by delivering verbal and written communication that is clear and concise to my followers on a weekly basis. I am setting this goal because I need to be a more effective communicator if I want to rise in leadership. With this goal, I hope to improve the way I communicate my goals and mission to my followers and colleagues and in so doing, improve my leadership practice.
SMART goal 2
The second short term smart goal is to improve my mentorship activity within the next six months by identifying and mentoring one young employee every month. I am setting this goal as mentoring other people is a way of giving back to the community and will help another person be of service to the society. Mentoring one employee every month will help me support others towards attaining their potential as leaders and in doing so, improve my effectiveness as a leader.
Action 1 for SMART goal 1
The first action towards improving my communication skills is to start writing and delivering presentations to my followers on a weekly basis. With this action, I intend to communicate my vision, goals, and what I require of my employees. Every presentation will be clear and easy to understand to ensure that my followers understand and support my vision.
Action 2 for SMART goal 1
The second action is to provide feedback to my followers on a weekly basis regarding their performance in performing various tasks. The feedback will also be clear, concise and address the concerns of my followers.
Action 1 for SMART goal 2
The first action towards enhancing my mentoring capabilities will be identifying one employee every month to meet with and provide guidance. To get the right person to mentor, I will consider employees who are young, possess some leadership skills, and who are willing to have someone to guide them in the leadership journey.
Action 2 for SMART goal 2
The second action will be to sign up for a mentorship training course to enhance my skills as a mentor. This course will equip me with the knowledge and skills on how to guide and mentor others.