The problem with management is that it still works under the flawed Industrial Age paradigm. Consider that physicians in the Middle Age practised bloodletting. As barbaric as that may seem today, using leeches to draw blood from a sick person simply followed from the era’s paradigm that if you were ill, bad material was in your blood, so the blood must come out. After the advent of germ theory, the paradigm shifted, saving millions of lives.
A paradigm is powerful. The old Industrial Age paradigm held that people were an input, akin to raw materials such as steel and energy. People, therefore, were treated as things. They were not managed as whole individuals consisting of heart, mind, body and spirit, but rather as objects to be controlled and rarely trusted.
While circumstances certainly have changed since the advent of the Industrial Age, the basic paradigm continues. Workers are objects, to be carefully scrutinized and managed to get them to perform effectively. This approach is increasingly dysfunctional in the Information or Knowledge Worker Age. Under the old approach, employees experience a great deal of pain and frustration at every company, no matter how successful. Fortunately, today the workplace paradigm is shifting, as expressed by the 8th Habit.
The 8th Habit is not just 7 Habits plus one that got left behind. Instead, it calls for using a “third dimension” of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The 8th Habit means “finding your voice and helping others find theirs.” And, in this context, “voice” is the unique personal significance each human offers, and can bring to bear at work.
Making a Difference
A full colonel with more than 30 years of service commanded a military base. Instead of retiring, he decided to stay and push through a landmark cultural change inside his organization. He knew it would be a major battle. When asked why he didn’t simply retire and avoid the mess altogether, the colonel explained that his father’s last whispered words on his deathbed were, “Son, don’t do life as I did. I didn’t do right by you or your mother and never really made a difference.” The colonel explained that he was determined to implement cultural changes that would have a positive impact on his command long after he was gone. Everyone has the choice the colonel made: live with mediocrity or strive for greatness. The good news is that if you have chosen mediocrity, it’s never too late to turn back. You can choose greatness instead.
Discovering Your Voice
Finding your unique voice means fulfilling your innate potential. The greatest gift you received at birth was the ability to decide whether to develop your fullest capacities. You have a choice in the space or time between every action and every reaction. During that moment, reflect on what has happened and determine your response. The ability to understand your free power of choice opens the door to four vital bits of intelligence or capabilities:
1. Mind: IQ is mental intelligence Many people stop here when evaluating intelligence, but it is too restrictive.
2. Body: PQ is physical intelligence This form of intelligence is often discounted because it takes place without your conscious awareness. You do not have to think to breathe or to make your heartbeat. Yet this intelligence responds continuously to the environment to maintain health, ward off infection and so forth.
3. Heart: EQ is emotional intelligence You must be an aware, sensitive and empathetic person to communicate with others on a genuine level. A person with a strong EQ knows what to say and when to say it, how to feel and how to express those feelings. Substantial evidence indicates that over the long run EQ is a stronger determinant of success than IQ.
4. Spirit or soul: SQ is spiritual intelligence This is the most central intelligence because it directs the activities of the other three. Our drive for meaning and purpose leads us to develop our SQ.
To find your voice, you must be in touch with the four elements of a whole person: mind, body, heart and spirit. The consistent pattern in the lives of great achievers is that, through struggle and effort, they elevated the four bits of intelligence to their highest manifestations: “vision, discipline, passion and conscience.” They used four powerful combinations:
1. Mind = Vision When the mind is fully developed you gain vision, the ability to discern the highest potential in people, institutions, causes and enterprises. People who do not exercise the mind’s ability to create, or who discourage it in others, suffer from a failure of vision. They are unable to see the wonderful possibilities within circumstances of great need. Without vision, they slip into victimization.
2. Body = Discipline You need the discipline to transform vision into reality. Discipline is the child born from the marriage of vision and commitment. You must have both.
3. Heart = Passion Those who develop a wise heart will feel the passionate fire of conviction, the flame that sustains the discipline needed to achieve the vision. Passion flows from finding and using your unique voice to accomplish great things.
4. Spirit = Conscience Developing your mental identity will lead you toward knowing the right fork in the road, toward an inward moral compass that will guide you.
Ultimately, leadership is the ability to help people understand their true worth and potential, so they see it in themselves and live accordingly. The Industrial Age view of work failed to nurture trust, placed the boss at the centre of all activity, took power away from people and misaligned the interests of the individual and the organization. The alternative path is practising the 8th Habit and the 7 Habits that preceded it. Begin with developing the four bits of intelligence, finding your voice and expressing it.
“What happens when you manage people like things? They stop believing that leadership can become a choice.”
To lead this journey, implement the 8th Habit in your interactions. Buckminster Fuller requested the epitaph, “Just A TrimTab.” A trimtab on a boat or plane is the small rudder that ultimately turns the whole machine. Successful organizations have many unheralded trimtabbers who influence it by setting good examples. These individuals believe they really can make a difference.
To be a leader, prove yourself trustworthy. Most leadership failures probably can be traced back to failures of character. Every leader must exemplify core values such as keeping promises and demonstrating honesty and integrity.
Learning to Empower
Why should you empower others to find their voices? Well, consider the alternatives. You could try to lead them by controlling them. That rarely proves satisfactory. Or you could abdicate responsibility, and let them do whatever they want. That hardly seems wise, either. The solution is to give others “directed autonomy.” Work with them to establish their objectives and then give them the autonomy to achieve those goals. A win-win agreement is neither a legal contract nor a job description. It is a psychological and social contract written into people’s hearts and minds. Such an agreement endows your colleagues with a shared commitment toward the organization’s highest priorities. Winwin empowerment is especially valuable during evaluations. In a hightrust culture, people are far more likely to appraise themselves effectively, particularly if you provide them with good 360degree feedback. Selfevaluation is usually the toughest.
The Sweet Spot
So now that you understand the 8th Habit, how do you practice it? Here are some ideas:
• “Modeling” Prove yourself trustworthy through your actions, rather than imposing expectations on others. Listen to others and practice behaviours that ultimately will give you moral authority.
• “Pathfinding” Create a sense of direction and order for your organization.
• “Aligning” Help your organization be congruent with the spirit of trust and empowerment. Proper alignment results in institutional moral authority.
• “Empowering” Accept the four elements of a person’s nature heart, mind, body, spirit and embrace them. Have faith in people’s ability to choose wisely for themselves. Empowerment produces cultural moral authority.
When you reach the stages of alignment and empowerment, you’re talking about execution. In most companies, a great gap yawns between goals and execution. As Peter Drucker said, “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.”
Bridging with Empowerment
You must bridge six chasms to make empowerment more than just an empty word:
1. The “clarity” gap The old Industrial Age approach was to announce a program to the workforce and expect them to understand it. Mission statements became mere PR initiatives; workers would wait to see what happened. In the Knowledge Worker Age, new initiatives need identification, involvement and buyin from workers.
2. The “commitment” gap Rather than “sell” new ideas to the workforce, the 8th Habit respects the whole person. The organization based in the Knowledge Worker Age takes into account the welfare of each person’s body, mind, heart and spirit.
3. The “translation” gap Lofty goals must be translated into realworld activities. For the Knowledge Worker, this is done not by job descriptions, but by aligning goals and incentives to get the desired results.
4. The “enabling” gap In Industrial Age thought, people were an expense and equipment was an investment. Today’s better idea is to establish a scoreboard that matches desired results with capabilities. This ensures that workers can see how the firm’s structures are aligned to enable them to accomplish essential objectives.
5. The “synergy” gap To have synergy, managers must understand the Third Alternative. When two ideas conflict, managers can, through empathic listening and creative thinking, arrive at a third position that is agreeable to both parties. This is the Third Alternative, an 8th Habit form of communication that harmonizes various interests.
6. The “accountability” gap The Industrial Age process was simple: carrot and stick. The new way involves mutual accountability and an open comparison of the progress made toward the achievement of a goal. The scoreboard continually shows the score.
The ultimate path to harnessing all 8 Habits is to serve others. The real reason organizations are established is to serve human needs. The notion of service above self lends you the moral authority to be a great leader. The question isn’t, “What’s in it for me?” It is, “What’s in me that I can give others?”
As you begin the 8th Habit process of finding your voice, know that your journey must end with helping others find theirs. Each person is precious, and there is truly no limit to what an organization can accomplish when leadership becomes a choice rather than a position. Choosing to serve becomes the most enlightened habit of all.
Source: Stephen R. Covey
Edited by : Palak Ranga