Seven Habits
(Stephen Covey)

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Leadership and Management. Explanation of Seven Habits of Stephen Covey. ('89)


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The Seven Habits model of management and leadership guru Stephen Covey is a theory that is applicable to our personal life, our social life and our working life. However the Seven Habits framework is highly applicable for leaders and managers. According to Covey, our paradigms affect how we interact with others, which in turn affects how they interact with us. Therefore Covey argues that any effective self-help program must begin with an "inside-out" approach, rather than looking towards our problems as "being out there" (an outside-in approach). We must start with examining our own character, paradigms, and motives.

The Seven Habits of Covey

  1. Be proactive. This is the ability to control one's environment, rather than the opposite, as is so often the case. Managers need to control their own environment, by using self-determination and the ability to respond to various circumstances.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. This means that the manager must be able to see the desired outcome, and to concentrate on activities which help to achieve that end.
  3. Put first things first. A manager must manage his own person. Personally. And managers should implement activities which aim to achieve the second habit. Covey says that habit 2. is the first, or mental creation; habit 3 is the second, or physical creation.
  4. Think win-win. This is the most important aspect of interpersonal leadership, because most achievements are based on shared effort. Therefore the aim needs to be win-win solutions for all.
  5. Seek first to understand and then to be understood. By developing and maintaining positive relationships through good communications, the manager is understood by others, and he can understand the subordinates.
  6. Synergize. This is the habit of creative cooperation: the principle that collaborating towards attaining a purpose often achieves more, than could be achieved by individuals working independently.
  7. Sharpen the saw. We should learn from our previous experiences. And we should encourage others to do the same. Covey sees development as one of the most important aspects for being able to cope with challenges, and for aspiring towards higher levels of ability.

In his 2004 book: "The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness", Covey introduces an additional eighth habit:

  1. Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs. Striving towards "greatness", means to act with integrity as an individual and to help others to do the same. According to Covey, this habit represents the 3rd dimension of his model. Greatness is the overlap of:
  • Personal greatness. Applying the 7 habits in the forms of: vision, discipline, passion and conscience.
  • Leadership greatness. Applying the 4 roles of leadership, which are modeling the 7 habits:
    • Path finding. Creating the blueprint.
    • Aligning. Creating a technically elegant system of work.
    • Empowering. Releasing the talent, energy, and contribution of people.
    • Modeling. To build trust with others. The heart of effective leadership.
  • Organizational greatness. This is greatness turned into a vision, mission and values. This brings clarity, commitment, translation, synergy, and enables accountability.

Book: Stephen Covey: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People -

Book: Stephen Covey: The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness -

Seven Habits Forum
  Questions About Covey's Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence (Habit 1)
"Because of position, wealth, role, or relationships, there are some circumstances in which a person's Circle of Influence is larger than his or her Circle of Concern. This situation reflects on a self-inflicted emotional myopia -- another reactiv...
  Principled-centered Leadership
There seems to be an ongoing debate re who should come first - customer or employee. Yet, I can think of situations when it is family first.
If you were in a high-powered client or employee meeting and suddenly received notice that your spouse j...
  Extra Habit: Spirituality
Be nice! Be good! Love is a powerful weapon against troubled people. Love and hate are contagious. Select first! Don't fall in dangerous games and keep your mind away from negative influences....
  Reasons for the 8th Habit
Anyone knows why the 8th habit came about. I feel it has to do with all the 7 not having the power of influence, no matter how proactive one remains, in bringing a significant change to the environment. The biggest culprit is the lack of top leadersh...
  Implement 7 Habits Across the Organization
Without effective communication, managers and subordinates have the tendency to misunderstand each other. This often leads to conflict. Managers must try to implement the 7 habits at all levels in an organisation....
  Covey's 8th Habit: Expression of a Higher Level of Awareness
The 7 habits framework can be applied as they are but the 8th habit represents a maturity that is not apparently evident in the first 7 habits. However, I would say that much like a diamond, the 8th habit is but one facet of leadership, but one very ...
  Extra Habit: Setting and Achieving Goals
I accept that the good habits are necessary to building positive self-esteem and image, it is a universal truth. The Seven Habits model developed by Mr. Stephen Covey is really practical in human being for successive live and very important for total...
  7 Habits is Road Map to Personal Success
Stephen R Covey's 7 habits should be a road map to personal success but the habits can be increased to as many as possible to achieve the same goal of personal success....
  Effectiveness to Greatness
I feel being effective alone will not lead to greatness. But being effective and efficient while being also Emotionally Intelligent will lead to greatness. Mr. Covey should take that as a sepa...
  Seven Habits: Reprogram your Mind
It's never late to learn and apply the seven habits of Covey, because these habits are the only tool to reprogram your mind to travel the path to success....
  Accountability of Time and Workforce Output
Accountability of time in comparision to the output of workforce is to be monitored very strictly in order to achieve the goals....
  Extra Habit: Enthusiasm
I believe the world belongs to the people of enthusiasm. It is our enthusiasm that reflects on our future output....
  Tools for being Proactive?
How to effectively control one's environment in a proactive way?...
  I say : Emotion Clouds Reason
Emotion clouds reason . To be an effective decision maker, a person should put truth and betterment of others above himself....
  Habits inhibit Freedom?
I feel the 7 habits inhibit the freedom to act spontaneously as perceived by the Zen Management approach which demands "Being In The Present"....
  Think success, then it will follow...
Success starts first in the mind, all other steps are simply the embodiment of ingredients that made up this very first mental image. Think success, then it will follow......
  Extra habit: Emotional Intelligence
I think the best way to have a successful and influential leadership is to add another habit: Emotional intelligence as a habit....
  Seven Habits: Followers?
I wonder, can there be habits for followers as well?...
  Seven Habits: Sharpen the saw?
What is the meaning of Covey's: Sharpen the saw?...

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Best Practices - Seven Habits Premium
  Stephen Covey 1932-2012
It's with great sadness I write that FranklinCovey Company announced the passing of Stephen Covey peacefull...

Expert Tips - Seven Habits Premium

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Salespersons

In the article "The Seven Strategies of the Highly Effective Salesperson" (Industrial Distribution, February 2008), John R. Graham analyzes the...
Usage (application): Distinguishing Top Salespeople

Seven Habits of Strategic CFOs

In the style of Stephen Covey, Kurt Kuehn suggests following Seven Habits of Strategic CFOs (Strategic Finance, September 2008) that can help t...
Usage (application): CFOs New Roles as Corporate Change Agents

Seven Habits of Effective Aid

Following Stephen Covey's way, Andrew Rogerson and Paolo de Renzio (January 2005) suggest the following Seven Habits of Effective (International) Aid:...
Usage (application): International Cooperation

Write a Personal Mission Statement

Covey wrote this pearl of wisdom in his book Seven Habits: "The key to the ability to change is a change...
Usage (application): Establish focus on who you want to be in your life...

Five Leadership Development Ideas

Although years of research and analysis by biographers, historians, and scholars have produced an enormous library of books on leadership, Robert J. A...
Usage (application): Leadership Development, Management Development, Coaching, Mentoring

Identify and Develop Leadership Abilities

Four Rules of Leadership...  

Why EFFECTIVE in the 'Seven Habits of Highly EFFECTIVE People'?

As a 7H certified trainer, we start our sessions by looking at the title of the book. Stephen carefully chose the word "effective", not "efficient" no...
Usage (application): Stephen Covey chose the Word Effective, not Efficient nor Successful

Ten Traits of Effective Leaders

In an excerpt titled “Ten Traits of Effective Leaders” (Harvard Management Update, 2005, Vol. 10, No. 10) from his book “Performance Without Co...
Usage (application): Effective Leadership

Resources - Seven Habits Premium

7 Habits Presentation

Good overview presentation by Think Inc....
Usage (application): Overview

Stephen Covey on Lifelong Learning

This video provides background on Covey's 7th Habit ("Sharpening the Saw"). Many employees are reluctant to fulfill the need of employers to continue ...
Usage (application): Lifelong Learning, Continuous Education, Continuous Learning, Continually Learning

Steven Covey on his 8 Habits of Effective People / Managers / Leaders

In this video Steven Covey explains his 7 habits plus the 8th habit he added later:
1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Pu...
Usage (application): Understanding the 8 Habits of Covey. Leadership Development, Management Development, Coaching, Mentoring

Seven Habits Outline Map

Summary and outline of the 7-habits theory.(Courtesy of Bruce Liu, who produced and shared the map)...
Usage (application): Summary Mindmap

Seven Covey: The Principles Behind the 7 Habits

Steven Covey explains the universal and timeless principles behind his 7 habits:
1. Be proactive is based on the principle of taking responsibili...
Usage (application): Reflection, Coaching, Mentoring, Leadership Development, Management Development

Five Emotional Cancers Blocking the 8th Habit of Highly Effective People

Video with Steven Covey explaining 5 Emotional Cancers. These 5 things are keeping you as a manager/leader from Finding your Voice (The 8th habit of C...
Usage (application): Leadership, Management, Employee Motivation, Finding your Voice

Stephen Covey on the Speed of Trust

Steven Covey hints at some of the reasons why trust is so fundamental for corporations, the banking system, financial institutions and the global econ...
Usage (application): Corporate Strategy, Global Economy, Banking System, Leadership Development, Stakeholder Management


Seven Habits Covey


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Seven Habits Covey


Seven Habits Leaders


Seven Habits Covey


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Seven Habits Covey


Seven Habits Leaders

Compare with the Seven Habits of Covey: Seven Surprises  |  Servant-Leadership  |  Charismatic Leadership  |  Leadership Pipeline  |  PAEI model  |  Change Management  |  SMART  |  Path-Goal  |  Leadership Continuum  |  Theory X Theory Y  |  4 Dimensions of Relational Work  |  Results-Based Leadership  |  Result Oriented Management  |  Coaching  |  Mentoring  |  Situational Leadership  |  Leadership Styles  |  Level 5 Leadership  |  EPIC ADVISERS

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