Sample Coursework Paper on Leadership and Responsibility

Leadership and Responsibility

Be Proactive

The capacity to think is evidently the most significant thing human beings have, and that animals do not have. This power helps people to be proactive, take initiative and full accountability of their lives. As Covey indicates, being proactive signifies that people have the ability to utilize resources in resolving their problems with a positive outcome instead of shifting the troubles to other people (34-37). In actual working settings, just a few workers turn out to be proactive and offer resolutions for the predicaments that they ought to resolve, which as a Construction Manager in the construction industry I have regularly observed. I have found that being proactive is reliant on the working attitude of the personnel irrespective of their position. I had earlier sought for a team in a construction project and realized that the majority of them are greatly reactive, perhaps this was because they do not require bearing the accountability of the job tasks but just want to have a high pay.

In this regard, they usually will not be proactive to resolve the predicaments in the workflow or arrangement for the means of maximizing their productivity. Nevertheless, there are usually outstanding instances at times, particularly observable from the diligence of the new personnel. Most of the employees newly joining the workforce are not concerned with whether they are the youngest in the group but take the initiative of spotting the anomalies or mulling over other approaches different from normal process with the intention of accomplishing the tasks more quickly and effectively. Every time I come across such a proactive worker, I cheer them through excellent evaluation and inform the directors concerning them.

The construction company has at all times backed this positively and presented more chances for them to uphold a top position, for instances, some are made deputy supervisors to show others the means of developing an effective working approach, which the managers admire having in the workforce. In my present company, being proactive has been made an appraisal criterion in the job proficiency matrix for the present job position or promotion to observe how well the employees satisfy the company’s anticipated obligations. This has been termed as a proactive cluster that encompasses the fields of business initiatives, adaptableness, and self-development. People have rights to decide the manner in which they act (Covey 45-46). In this regard, people can decide whether they desire to be proactive or not, acquiring positive working approaches, and attaining the recognition of the company and getting promoted to a higher rank. Covey also affirmed that the social mirror is a very interesting notion on the way forms of attitudes are generated (79-80).

My genetic determinism is from my mother and father who are both Chinese, which gives me major Chinese attributes such as always scrutinizing first and expressing views with caution and timidity. Moreover, I was born and grew up in Hong Kong, which ensured that I enhanced my determinism with non-judgmental attitude and freedom of communication. While I began working and leading others I learned the means of balancing between my attributes. It is at times not easy to talk unreservedly as one desires since one is supposed to think cautiously prior to speaking, which is reliant on the circumstances.

Begin With the End in Mind

The second habit is a simply employed practice on everyday task and offers an excellent means of arriving at decisions. Covey recommended the facilitation of self-mastery through laying down a scheme and pursuing it, which denotes the most successful manner of ensuring that people begin with the end in mind (96-99). I find that I have been at all times employing this approach to my work. Anytime I am undertaking a project I require knowing its end objective and plan for the entire assignment through backward scheduling. I then mull over the way the project will operate once in the mentality from its conclusion to set every item and landmark for gate management to direct the group to pursue the planned milestones. Thus far, this approach has been successful in managing and guiding people to work and assists in the management of the labor force. According to Covey, management entails performing tasks in the right manner while leadership involves carrying out the right functions and that is proper and good supervision for people to build up personal leadership (105). My existence has been a bit different since I have never developed a lasting mission proclamation.

My objective is at all times to quickly succeed and after gaining triumph develop a different assignment to keep on fighting. On this note, the objectives I set appear temporary but in other expressions, the moment a task is designed, I concentrate and gain the capacity to accomplish it successfully. For instance, when in my final year in school, I had a list of companies in China in which I desired to work. Surprisingly, I got employed in one of the companies after having been in other companies for about six years to gain the expertise that such a company needs since my application to the company after I graduated was declined. The notions of Covey helped me realize that one requires having a personal mission statement with the intention of setting the goals to achieve in existence and ensure an enhanced course of life, which is similarly germane in one’s undertakings (111).

Put First Thing First

The third habit is the strongest and most significant, and Covey has written the entire book based on it; putting first thing first entails life, as well as time, management (123). The habit enlightens the readers on the means of managing operations effectively with the power of independent will that propels people to be principle-focused. I managed to understand this habit completely when I got involved in a lean transformation course in a previous company and have been applying it from that time. The aim of prioritizing the most important things is to recognize the means of categorizing all the tasks into four quadrants, which is a form of successful self-management, influenced by the command of autonomous will one builds up.

Through prioritization, it becomes very easy to employ time management aspect to schedule everyday duties as one realizes the undertakings that are gainful to accomplish and the ones that are not. A successful individual ought to concentrate on using more time on tasks that are essential but not urgent (Quadrant II), instead of the others since this assists in preventing the difficulty of the tasks (Covey 142). I previously employed this habit while working in a former company to identify the necessary improvements. I discussed with the company’s director and made him comprehend the intricacies encountered in some tasks, which necessitated the application of the time management matrix for the identification of the problem that ought to be chosen in the initial improvement plan and arrange the others in order of priority.

Though prioritization is an important method, the greatest intricacy in the application of the time management matrix in the classification of daily duties lies in the rejection of some plans on other Quadrants apart from Quadrant II (Mostovicz, Kakabadse, and Kakabadse 489-490). In my former company, I just had about two years of working experience and since I was fresh and diffident, I did not know the way of rejecting some of the requests that were beyond my scope and responsibility. On this note, I normally agreed to everyone that sought my assistance on both issues of life and task, which made me stressed and had to spend more time to accomplish my usual tasks in good time. Nevertheless, as a new manager in the company, this ensured that I had a quicker and easier means of developing network and amity with the employees. Some of the employees that I assisted could not be beneficial at that moment but when I shifted to a different position later, I found out that such individuals could help in my new duties and make my operations easier.

However, when I shifted to my present company, which is much bigger when judged against my former one, I realized that my practice was not a good approach for creating networks in the company. I could not get ample time to respond to every request not related to the job and I was left with inadequate time to handle Quadrant II. Therefore, I learned to refuse to tackle what I was not responsible for but I would give recommendations on how the appeals ought to be dealt with to prevent the occurrence of odd cases and make sure that there was existence of consistency, and as affirmed by Covey, this is greatly significant for one to be successful (157). Covey proposed six standards for a manager regarding Quadrant II and I view the people aspect as the most significant of all (163). Moreover, people are the most important resources in a company and could be the most vital tool when one obtains their motivation to work. On this note, concentrating on people rather than schedules will ensure that managers are on course with respect to acquiring people’s dedication and have the job completed.

Think Win-Win

This habit teaches people to work in collaboration to ensure mutual gains by encouraging one to view others as supportive and not competitors. It is amid the tools of handling interdependence. Six concepts assist in ensuring interactions at work, and the best instance has to be a win-win situation to make sure that all parties benefit. The reverse of a win-win situation is the absence of a deal in case none of the parties is ready to be on the losing end. Nonetheless, it is not simple to realize a win-win situation because all the parties are needed to get equipped with the five aspects of a win-win situation as proposed by Covey (205). Amid the five aspects as per my knowledge, Relationship is a critical factor in determining if the win-win situation is to succeed or fail.

Presently, I have encountered a special occurrence concerning the realization of a win-win condition as my company has logistical deals to transact with a different company. In the deal, my company is also necessitated to relocate some documents instantly, which have been accumulated for many years, because they require setting aside the room for other purposes. The talks stuck midway since my company never anticipated the relocation of the documents and had not prepared any other room for their storage. On this note, because I was well conversant with the work affiliations in the other company, I made efforts to determine the flexibility they could give to the owner of the room while I was still searching for another place that I could keep the documents.

I established that the company had a project that entailed the scanning of documents, which even planned to obtain documents from the other company to accomplish the task. Hence, I suggested the scanning of the documents first and the relocation of some other documents from the other company to my company so that they could set aside their room for the intended purpose since we had a bigger store for all the documents. Luckily, the other company accepted and even promised to be giving us documents as required in the future for the scanning processes, which was a win-win situation since the two companies benefited from the deal. The cordial relationship between the two companies greatly assisted in realizing the win-win situation and the talks were anchored in the trust and respect for each other and worked hard to understand from the viewpoint of one another.

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

Covey affirmed that communication is the greatest thing for success in life and encompasses four different aspects, which include writing, reading, listening, and speaking (215). Listening carefully to the issues of the other party is the most crucial aspect of good communication, and the main aim of this habit is to understand prior to responding. According to Covey, empathic listening, an aspect of communication skills, represents a fine means of assisting people to comprehend the requirements of the target truly and build up a win-win position (217). This is a critical point as it shows the power of empathic listening in actual life occurrences. While I was an assistant supervisor in my former company, there was a notion amid the staff that managers do not understand their situation since they do not listen to their views or take time to review their conduct, and the employees have a great desire of informing them about the challenges they encounter.

When I was promoted to be a manager in my current company and was required to undertake performance appraisal for the employees, I knew that effective listening and communication was vital. In this regard, I use not less than 20 minutes with any staff that had an issue to sort out with me while trying to listen to their concerns and evaluating the best manner of helping them. Similar to what was affirmed by Covey, I employ communication skills and empathic listening in the appraisal while trying to understand the concerns of the employees and mulling over what they anticipated to get from accomplishing the task and the challenges they encountered (220).

On the same note, I recognized that they appreciated my listening to them and put efforts to resolve the difficulties or obtain the required resources. This way, I understood the interests of the employees and they were also ready to pay attention concerning the areas I would guide them to improve on or assist in the workflow. This proved viable for the majority of the workers, and I could find that their working approach was bettering, for instance, the rate of sick leave reduced and the employees became more dependable for reviewing the duties to mention a few. Regarding the seeking to be understood section of this habit, it is easy for the workers to understand me after I have listened to them and discussed my response with them. Hence, the employees are also proactive to understand my opinion and expectation from them after I have understood their concerns.



For effectiveness, one has to treasure the physical dissimilarities involving people to generate opportunities for one another. As Covey established this habit is difficult to attain since the majority of people have a tendency of being distrustful and protective (295). In brief, if human beings could develop confidence and open their mind, synergy could be an extremely effective means of realizing a win-win situation. For synergy, workers in the construction industry are organized in teams that work collaboratively. Such teams are normally able to address particular challenging tasks. The success of the teams is brought about by different major aspects. Mainly, such aspects are anchored in the manner in which the teams function and interconnect to ensure triumph. The joint efforts entail the effective cooperation of a grouping of individuals in actions that geared towards the attainment of a common objective. The major benefit of teamwork is that the achievement is greater compared to the summation of individual results. The members of a team must trust one another and work jointly devoid of essentially concurring in everything. The readiness of team members to articulate their uncertainties and offer recommendations to the managers is a significant pointer of success.

In any successful team, there will at times be challenges, as well as disagreements. A given level of stress amid members is crucial to generating pleasing outcomes. Differences amid the members do not express automatic indication of a successful team. Nevertheless, everlasting harmony is just extremely good to be factual, and could perhaps be a sign of underlying crises. There are times that I have to put myself and the members of the team under stress to handle a given difficulty; however, I have to undertake this cautiously and with some expected results in mind. There are normally some members of a team that sometimes seem disruptive and destroy affiliations and synergy within the group. Similarly, when my company decided to partner with another company as a means of collaboration, it was opting to attain competitive benefit through the enhanced operations, fiscal synergy, diversification, strategic repositioning, and market strength. Teamwork is a typical instance of the manner in which synergy facilitates the outcome and helps in resolving intricacies (Voegtlin, Patzer and Scherer 1-16).

Sharpen the Saw

This habit cheers people to take some break with the purpose of sharpening the saw (enhancing one’s skills). The most precious asset one has is oneself; when there is no proper care, one’s personal productivity reduces. The habit is somehow beyond my anticipation when considering the regulations of becoming a successful leader. Nevertheless, after going through the views of Covey, I concur that ensuring an excellent personal training is a fundamental obligation of being successful (312). Covey proposed four aspects of renewal, which encompasses spiritual, social, physical, and mental (323). On this note, I am convinced that my company has made great efforts in assisting the personnel the four aspects.

With respect to the physical aspect, the company has a big sports hall, swimming pool, and gym centers to mention a few, which assist the workforce to ensure good physical exercises after work in the best possible manner. For the spiritual aspect, the company prepares sessions and invites different religious leaders in agreement with the religion of a given group of employees to regularly come and offer them spiritual nourishment. Concerning the mental dimension, the company has a big library where the employees can read from or even borrow books and online study platforms that offer online courses for value addition. For the social aspect, the company prepares clubs and other social activities where the employees and students taking the online courses meet to develop relationships and initiate programs to serve the community. All this is meant to offer the personnel a means of sharpening the saw, enhancing their preparedness for challenges, and working successfully (Covey 330). Lastly, the seven habits offer great insights on the means of becoming a successful person.


Works Cited

Covey, Stephen. The 7 habits of highly effective people. New York: Free Press, 1989. Print.

Mostovicz, Isaac, Andrew Kakabadse, and Nada Kakabadse. “The four pillars of corporate responsibility: Ethics, leadership, personal responsibility and trust.” Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society 11.4 (2011): 489-500.

Voegtlin, Christian, Moritz Patzer, and Andreas Scherer. “Responsible leadership in global business: A new approach to leadership and its multi-level outcomes.” Journal of Business Ethics 105.1 (2012): 1-16.