Top positive review
Principle-Centered Leadership: How to Master Group Leadership By Being Principled in Words and Actions with Others
Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2017
Author Stephen R. Covey’s ground-breaking book, Principle-Centered Leadership, is the higher-octave bookend of his earlier foundation book, the #1 International Best-Seller: The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective People. In fact, 7 Habits is the foundation upon which we all should learn how to problem-solve and relate to others.
Dr. Covey (a devout Mormon), who has his MBA from Harvard and a Doctor of Religious Education degree from BYU, practiced what he taught because both books are a distillation of Mormon values.
Dr. Covey was professionally influenced by Peter Drucker’s work – how people are organized across the spectra of business, government, and non-government sections of society. Drucker was a life-long proponent of ‘the knowledge/ life-long learner’, which Covey also espoused.
Stephen Covey was a professor at the Marriott School of Management at BYU and was also an assistant to the President of the university. Later, he went back to full-time academic duties as a professor of the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University in Logan.
My main copy of this book (I have several) has many dog-eared, red-pen marked passages that are meaningful to me; it also has many mini Post-It note pages that I use as marked tabs of important main topics, arranged both at the top and side of the book that I use for fast reference look-ups.
The front inside book cover lists 10 main themes in question format for all readers to consider. These deal with organizing and solving problems in behavioral leadership. The book has useful graphics to explain main ideas, but the amount of graphics is much less than those used in his 7 Habits book. As such, I would suggest having this book, too, for easy reference and a plethora of graphics, which also highlight leadership themes in managing change.
What is so ground-breaking about this book is that it casts a net of personal values ownership over the workplace environment, especially during tremendous change in the workforce. Principle-Centered Leadership stresses the value of strong, interpersonal work relationships, resting on a main saw in his 7 Habits book: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Problem-solving with members of any group is key. All members want to be valued, respected, and part of a winning team that produces good work, especially in business, because profit is the main driver for having the team working together and gainfully employed in the first place. This book gives concise examples that Dr. Covey uses from his personal experience in leading seminars in ‘Big Business’ environments, but he also uses personal anecdotes to describe how he deals with his own personal, organized unit: the family unit with his wife and family. He describes how his family unit encounters, deals with, and resolves problems. As head of his family, he respectfully utilizes a co-leadership role with his wife and engages his children, as team members, in the process, too.
Unlike the workforce environment, in which much time and effort has first been spent to map out what needs to be done and in a given time-frame, family problems can crop up out-of-the-blue and need to be resolved, many times, on the spot. He discusses this, too.
Note that the process of principle-centered leadership is time-consuming at first when team members are first learning the tools of the organizational behavior trade and utilizing them in meaningful ways. However, after these tools become automatic, they are some of the best ways to interact with others – at home, at work, during involvement with team sports or other endeavors. These interactions will allow members to sail through rough waters and ensure that all members come out safely at the other side after having mastered how to set up a major saw: “Start with the end in mind.”
This saw is exactly what educators learn to do to write lesson plans and academic curricula: 1. listing the specific behavioral outcomes of learning (the desired behavior at the end) first and then 2. listing the specific instructional objectives for students to be able to exhibit this behavior (the ‘how to get to the desired behavior’ at the beginning and throughout the plan). Both of these concepts are created before a full lesson plan is written to ensure that the outcomes are attained. In other words, the outcome and the objectives drive the plan. This process is also a way for educators and others to pre-think possible problems that could crop up along the way and be ready for them if and when they do.
Those of us educators who are professionally licensed with state teaching certificates, who have graduated from an accredited university College of Education, have been taught how to do this and have done student teaching in classes under the wing of a master teacher/ mentor before we could even step one foot into a classroom.
This book will become a well-utilized staple in your own personal library. Read it, buy copies for others, and have discussions with them about being principled in dealing with others. Note that most of us as adults are like Covey: leaders/ co-leaders of the family and leaders/ non-leaders at work.
I thoroughly recommend this book for all people to learn how to be principled in their dealings with others at work, at home, and at play. Covey’s earlier book, the 7 Habits is a pre-cursor for this book, and I recommend that people buy that, too and read it before they read this book or at least use it as a reference to this one. This book is one of the books that I buy in bulk and pass out to teams of people in many of the groups of which I am a member, so that we all have a common framework for getting work done, in time to make corrections/ edits (before publication), and in a mutually-respectful and professional way, so that all team members benefit from the combined work output. It is especially valuable for whomever is in a leadership position in the group.