The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey


In his #1 bestseller, Stephen R. Covey presented a framework for personal effectiveness. The following is a summary of the first part of his book, concluding with a list of the seven habits.

The seven Habits

Inside-Out:  The Change Starts from Within

While working on his doctorate in the 1970’s, Stephen R. Covey reviewed 200 years of literature on success. He noticed that since the 1920’s, success writings have focused on solutions to specific problems. In some cases such tactical advice may have been effective, but only for immediate issues and not for the long-term, underlying ones. The success literature of the last half of the 20th century largely attributed success to personality traits, skills, techniques, maintaining a positive attitude, etc. This philosophy can be referred to as the Personality Ethic.

However, during the 150 years or so that preceded that period, the literature on success was more character oriented. It emphasized the deeper principles and foundations of success. This philosophy is known as the Character Ethic, under which success is attributed more to underlying characteristics such as integrity, courage, justice, patience, etc.

The elements of the Character Ethic are primary traits while those of the Personality Ethic are secondary. While secondary traits may help one to play the game to succeed in some specific circumstances, for long-term success both are necessary. One’s character is what is most visible in long-term relationships. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”

To illustrate the difference between primary and secondary traits, Covey offers the following example. Suppose you are in Chicago and are using a map to find a particular destination in the city. You may have excellent secondary skills in map reading and navigation, but will never find your destination if you are using a map of Detroit. In this example, getting the right map is a necessary primary element before your secondary skills can be used effectively.

The problem with relying on the Personality Ethic is that unless the basic underlying paradigms are right, simply changing outward behavior is not effective. We see the world based on our perspective, which can have a dramatic impact on the way we perceive things. For example, many experiments have been conducted in which two groups of people are shown two different drawings. One group is shown, for instance, a drawing of a young, beautiful woman and the other group is shown a drawing of an old, frail woman. After the initial exposure to the pictures, both groups are shown one picture of a more abstract drawing. This drawing actually contains the elements of both the young and the old woman. Almost invariably, everybody in the group that was first shown the young woman sees a young woman in the abstract drawing, and those who were shown the old woman see an old woman. Each group was convinced that it had objectively evaluated the drawing. The point is that we see things not as they are, but as we are conditioned to see them. Once we understand the importance of our past conditioning, we can experience a paradigm shift in the way we see things. To make large changes in our lives, we must work on the basic paradigms through which we see the world.

The Character Ethic assumes that there are some absolute principles that exist in all human beings. Some examples of such principles are fairness, honesty, integrity, human dignity, quality, potential, and growth. Principles contrast with practices in that practices are for specific situations whereas principles have universal application.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People presents an “inside-out” approach to effectiveness that is centered on principles and character. Inside-out means that the change starts within oneself. For many people, this approach represents a paradigm shift away from the Personality Ethic and toward the Character Ethic.


The Seven Habits – An Overview

Our character is a collection of our habits, and habits have a powerful role in our lives. Habits consist of knowledge, skill, and desire. Knowledge allows us to know what to do, skill gives us the ability to know how to do it, and desire is the motivation to do it.

The Seven Habits move us through the following stages:

  1. Dependence: the paradigm under which we are born, relying upon others to take care of us.
  2. Independence: the paradigm under which we can make our own decisions and take care of ourselves.
  3. Interdependence: the paradigm under which we cooperate to achieve something that cannot be achieved independently.

Much of the success literature today tends to value independence, encouraging people to become liberated and do their own thing. The reality is that we are interdependent, and the independent model is not optimal for use in an interdependent environment that requires leaders and team players.

To make the choice to become interdependent, one first must be independent, since dependent people have not yet developed the character for interdependence. Therefore, the first three habits focus on self-mastery, that is, achieving the private victories required to move from dependence to independence. The first three habits are:

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First

Habits 4, 5, and 6 then address interdependence:

  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize

Finally, the seventh habit is one of renewal and continual improvement, that is, of building one’s personal production capability. To be effective, one must find the proper balance between actually producing and improving one’s capability to produce. Covey illustrates this point with the fable of the goose and the golden egg.

In the fable, a poor farmer’s goose began laying a solid gold egg every day, and the farmer soon became rich. He also became greedy and figured that the goose must have many golden eggs within her. In order to obtain all of the eggs immediately, he killed the goose. Upon cutting it open he discovered that it was not full of golden eggs. The lesson is that if one attempts to maximize immediate production with no regard to the production capability, the capability will be lost. Effectiveness is a function of both production and the capacity to produce.

The need for balance between production and production capability applies to physical, financial, and human assets. For example, in an organization the person in charge of a particular machine may increase the machine’s immediate production by postponing scheduled maintenance. As a result of the increased output, this person may be rewarded with a promotion. However, the increased immediate output comes at the expense of future production since more maintenance will have to be performed on the machine later. The person who inherits the mess may even be blamed for the inevitable downtime and high maintenance expense.

Customer loyalty also is an asset to which the production and production capability balance applies. A restaurant may have a reputation for serving great food, but the owner may decide to cut costs and lower the quality of the food. Immediately, profits will soar, but soon the restaurant’s reputation will be tarnished, the customer’s trust will be lost, and profits will decline.

This does not mean that only production capacity is important. If one builds capacity but never uses it, there will be no production. There is a balance between building production capacity and actually producing. Finding the right tradeoff is central to one’s effectiveness.

The above has been an introduction and overview of the 7 Habits. The following introduces the first habit in Covey’s framework.

FROM DEPENDENCE TO INDEPENDENCE
Habit 1:      Be Proactive

A unique ability that sets humans apart from animals is self-awareness and the ability to choose how we respond to any stimulus. While conditioning can have a strong impact on our lives, we are not determined by it. There are three widely accepted theories of determinism: genetic, psychic, and environmental. Genetic determinism says that our nature is coded into our DNA, and that our personality traits are inherited from our grandparents. Psychic determinism says that our upbringing determines our personal tendencies, and that emotional pain that we felt at a young age is remembered and affects the way we behave today. Environmental determinism states that factors in our present environment are responsible for our situation, such as relatives, the national economy, etc. These theories of determinism each assume a model in which the stimulus determines the response.

Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the death camps of Nazi Germany. While in the death camps, Frankl realized that he alone had the power to determine his response to the horror of the situation. He exercised the only freedom he had in that environment by envisioning himself teaching students after his release. He became an inspiration for others around him. He realized that in the middle of the stimulus-response model, humans have the freedom to choose.

Animals do not have this independent will. They respond to a stimulus like a computer responds to its program. They are not aware of their programming and do not have the ability to change it. The model of determinism was developed based on experiments with animals and neurotic people. Such a model neglects our ability to choose how we will respond to stimuli.

We can choose to be reactive to our environment. For example, if the weather is good, we will be happy. If the weather is bad, we will be unhappy. If people treat us well, we will feel well; if they don’t, we will feel bad and become defensive. We also can choose to be proactive and not let our situation determine how we will feel. Reactive behavior can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. By accepting that there is nothing we can do about our situation, we in fact become passive and do nothing.

The first habit of highly effective people is proactivity. Proactive people are driven by values that are independent of the weather or how people treat them. Gandhi said, “They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.” Our response to what happened to us affects us more than what actually happened. We can choose to use difficult situations to build our character and develop the ability to better handle such situations in the future.

Proactive people use their resourcefulness and initiative to find solutions rather than just reporting problems and waiting for other people to solve them.

Being proactive means assessing the situation and developing a positive response for it. Organizations can be proactive rather than be at the mercy of their environment. For example, a company operating in an industry that is experiencing a downturn can develop a plan to cut costs and actually use the downturn to increase market share.

Once we decide to be proactive, exactly where we focus our efforts becomes important. There are many concerns in our lives, but we do not always have control over them. One can draw a circle that represents areas of concern, and a smaller circle within the first that represents areas of control. Proactive people focus their efforts on the things over which they have influence, and in the process often expand their area of influence. Reactive people often focus their efforts on areas of concern over which they have no control. Their complaining and negative energy tend to shrink their circle of influence.

In our area of concern, we may have direct control, indirect control, or no control at all. We have direct control over problems caused by our own behavior. We can solve these problems by changing our habits. We have indirect control over problems related to other people’s behavior. We can solve these problems by using various methods of human influence, such as empathy, confrontation, example, and persuasion. Many people have only a few basic methods such as fight or flight. For problems over which we have no control, first we must recognize that we have no control, and then gracefully accept that fact and make the best of the situation.

SUMMARY OF THE SEVEN HABITS

Habit 1:  Be Proactive

Change starts from within, and highly effective people make the decision to improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces.

Habit 2:  Begin with the End in Mind

Develop a principle-centered personal mission statement. Extend the mission statement into long-term goals based on personal principles.

Habit 3:  Put First Things First

Spend time doing what fits into your personal mission, observing the proper balance between production and building production capacity. Identify the key roles that you take on in life, and make time for each of them.

Habit 4:  Think Win/Win

Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. In cases where a “win/win” deal cannot be achieved, accept the fact that agreeing to make “no deal” may be the best alternative. In developing an organizational culture, be sure to reward win/win behavior among employees and avoid inadvertantly rewarding win/lose behavior.

Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

First seek to understand the other person, and only then try to be understood. Stephen Covey presents this habit as the most important principle of interpersonal relations. Effective listening is not simply echoing what the other person has said through the lens of one’s own experience. Rather, it is putting oneself in the perspective of the other person, listening empathically for both feeling and meaning.

Habit 6:  Synergize

Through trustful communication, find ways to leverage individual differences to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Through mutual trust and understanding, one often can solve conflicts and find a better solution than would have been obtained through either person’s own solution.

Habit 7:  Sharpen the Saw

Take time out from production to build production capacity through personal renewal of the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Maintain a balance among these dimensions.

Recommended ReadingCovey, Stephen R., The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The article was taken from the website http://www.quickmba.com/mgmt/7hab/

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Team Dynamics: Conflict Resolution and Time Management by The Hub


Strategies to Enchance Team Cohesiveness in an Organizational Setting

team dynamics

Dynamics and Conflict within a Team

The team concept is not an unfamiliar one. We are surrounded by teams from the time we take our first breath until the time we leave this Earth. Doctors, nurses, aides, dieticians, housekeeping, and others all exhibited a collaborative effort to ensure our arrival into the world was a safe and successful journey.

Our adventures throughout grade school were also brought about by teamwork. Sports, movies, ballet, politics, business, higher education and several other parameters of life as we know it are the epitomes of teamwork, well-choreographed representations of the adage that states “Two heads are better than one. “Tasks achieved through teamwork are anticipated to be more thorough, more effective, more elaborative, more multifaceted, and more successful than those tasks carried out by one.

Individuals comprising a team contribute intrinsic skills and intuitive knowledge to the whole of the team, each member making up for what the other lacks. The result is a balanced load of all the skills necessary to complete the assigned task with proficiency (Morris, 2005). The ultimate success of the team is strongly influenced by the member’s ability to work together in a cohesive state.

“Team dynamics” encompasses any and all ways that individual affiliates interact with their counterparts en route to the common goal. The overall characteristics of the assigned task, along with the inert skill of each member may also have an impact on the team’s success (Morris, 2005). However, the focus here is more concerned with the interpersonal relationships within a team and strategies to employ in an effort to avoid conflict or to utilize should conflict arise.

The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science and Medicine defines team dynamics as the following: Often referred to colloquially as ‘team chemistry’; the patterns of interaction among team members that determine team spirit, harmony, cohesion, and morale. Some coaches believe that team dynamics are beyond their control, resulting from the unpredictable mixture of the personalities. Others believe that one of the most important tasks of a good coach is to create the best possible team dynamics for success (Oxford, 2005). The concepts behind this definition can apply to all types of teams. The team’s ‘chemistry’ is a dominant factor outlining the success of a team. If team members cannot work together effectively, then completing their assigned project is a more difficult goal to achieve.

The virtual team is presented with quite a few more discrepancies to overcome than those teams centered in real time. Before they are fully able to work up to their potential, the virtual teammates must establish some kind of rapport with their fellow constituents, lay down mutual ground rules ensuring each member has a designated responsibility, and everyone must strive to meet the team‘s common goal, no matter their differences individually.

Of these aforementioned qualities, the neutral rapport is the most difficult one to render effectively. Unfortunately, personality is often misinterpreted or lacking in full in the virtual team environment compared to those real time teams, where the member’s personalities are vividly displayed. Physically present interaction allows one to pick up on the visual and unspoken cues that contribute to a person’s character. Body language, voice inflection and intonation, the nodding of a head, or firm handshake are just among the few effective communications present in the real world, but lacking in the virtual realm. One has to rely on their own interpretations of their affiliate’s written accounts and then come to a fair-minded conclusion.

“When it comes to teamwork, a person’s ability to build relationships, work with others, and communicate effectively can be more important than his or her technical expertise” (Dawson, 2005). This concept is crucial if an online team is to be successful. If one member does not have the ability to communicate their own thoughts and ideas online, how will the rest of the team incorporate that member’s contributions into the project?

The need for team dynamics is understood after the team is formed, when the individuals work collaboratively toward the common goal. The precursor to team dynamics is (or should be) thoroughly contemplated prior to assigning each member to the team, according to the task at hand and the skills of each member. If the team consists of those most knowledgeable in marketing an idea, for example, and the project calls for a team of post-marketing surveyors, then (obviously) the team would not know how to go about getting the job done, and so their dynamics would be hindered.

Team members need to trust each other as well as trust each other’s expertise. They need to feel confident that the other members are doing their share, so that when the team finally pools their ideas together, a multifaceted solution results.

Teaming is a collective responsibility; every member is held accountable for their individual contribution, as well as the timely completion of the collaborative effort. In 1965, Bruce W. Tuckman developed a model of five stages for developing teams: “forming”, “norming”, “storming”, “producing” and “ending” (Bookman, 2005).

At the “forming” stage, dynamics are important because this is where things begin. At this point you need the chemistry to see how to set up the group according to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You need to feel confident that all of the members are willing to do what is required for the good of the team.

The “norming” stage is where the group comes together. Dynamics are important here because decisions need to be made and rules need to be set. The team needs to decide who will do what. Expectations, both of the group and of each individual, will also be determined at this point. The team also has to decide what will be done regarding conflicts, lack of participation of a member, and lack of , or insufficient, contributions. If the group dynamic falls apart here, the group will fall apart.

If a problem is going to exist, it usually makes itself present during the “storming” stage, which now comes into play. Strong dynamics within the group can help resolve potential problems before they become major issues. As long as the group can communicate well, they should be able to resolve any conflicts.

Next in line is the “producing” stage, where good team dynamics start to pay off as the team is now producing high volumes of quality work. At this point, if there are problems with the work, a strong team dynamic will ensure the issues are resolved. Finally (and appropriately titled), we come to the “ending” stage. The team itself has completed their task and is no longer required or just one member could be departing as their individual task is complete, marking this point. If the team as a whole terminates, a good dynamic can ensure each member walks away with a positive outlook, especially if there may be another opportunity to work with the same team. However, if the ending is due to a teammate’s departure, a good team dynamic will make it easier to carry on without that member’s presence (Bookman, 2005).

Improving team dynamics is actually a learning experience. Each member has to learn to develop or improve upon their ability to trust, be dependent upon, and work with each of their partners. One way to do this is through challenge programs.

Challenge programs are initiated away from the office, and are not specifically job related. The people involved will face physical or mental challenges with only the other members of their group to rely on. The team’s success will depend on each member’s ability to trust, guide and accept guidance, assist and accept assistance from their colleagues. When it comes to teams, and the team dynamic, the success of the team is dependant on the success of the individuals (Steinfeld, 2005).

Another concept, if a physical challenge program is not an option, is an on-line training program. According to the “News” section (2005), Personnel Today mentioned that the BBC used an on-line training program that showed that the majority of participants learned a ‘significant amount’ by participating in the program. The basis of this program was to show that teams can be more successful when the leaders use more of a teaching / coaching approach rather than a command-and-control approach.

Yet another option to improve team dynamics, and have a successful team, is found in Kenneth E. Holtman’s (2005) “The 10 commandments of team leadership.” (Training 101: It’s a team effort). The abstract is a follows:

The first requires them to stick to their mission and vision, which guide teams in creating and using more precise strategies and plans. The second commandment obligates team leaders not to tolerate undesirable behavior, which can only undermine team morale and performance if not addressed properly. The third commandment insists on the eschewal of self-interest to dominate over mutual interest, which helps avoid resentment, competition and conflict. The other rules require preventing fear to influence team behavior, fighting cliques which can affect team dynamics, dealing with conflict, refusing to recognize luck of trust as an excuse, encouraging risk taking, sharing information and managing processes carefully.

Although this article refers to the leadership role, it can also be a guide to improve the team dynamic at an individual level. Even an individual, is a leader, when it comes to their part of the project.

In summary, team dynamics are important because dynamic or ‘real’ teams have clarity of purpose. Everyone understands the team’s objectives, as well as own intrinsic roles in delivering them. Other key characteristics include a focus on quality, support for innovation, and the ability to work creatively with potential conflicts” (Agnes, 2005).

Time Management . . . A concept we should all thoroughly master. In our present lives, though, managing time seems to be an insurmountable feat. We have goals whose obtainment is so far in the distance that we tend to lose sight of them, put them off to satisfy the initial moment, and lose ourselves in the process.

We all have so many things going on in life these days. We all wear so many hats, working valiantly to meet up with the demands of each one. In doing so, we put too much pressure on ourselves to please the masses, not focusing on which one should come first or which ones can be eliminated to better suit the more prospective accessories.

  • Prioritize! Analyze your collection of hats, keeping in mind that God only gave you one head because you are only one person. The two hands He blessed you with are more suitable for delegating the tasks by passing down or throwing out the hats which do not measure up to the high priority coverings.
  • Don’t waste time finding time. Each and every day seems to begin with focusing on the fastest route from point “A” to point “B,” like those deluded souls you may see driving around forever in a crowded parking lot simply to get a closer space, when they could have been in the building faster if only they had taken the first available slot.
  • We put too much time-consuming thought into those misconstrued notions held dear to our “get rich quick” “instant gratification” society. Success does not happen overnight; it never will. Honest achievements are the result of dedication, blood, sweat, tears, pain, anguish, mental fatigue, still persevering in light of all these constituents. Do not delude yourself to the “get something for nothing” ideal. In all matters of simplicity, it is just not going to happen. Instead, spend one day planning out your entire journey en route to destination, “My Ultimate Goal,” mapping out your daily trek so that you know the steps required to make your arrival at your future locale a realistic ambition.
  • Once the plan is made, we tend to start off by flying and then realize we find more pleasure in the up close and personal (although more time-consuming) scenic route. Do not focus on the negative concept of the ultimate goal being so far away, rather focus on the here and now – the positive reinforcement and instant gratification that makes itself present, daily, through climbing and conquering each individual cliff on the way to the your mountain’s pinnacle.
  • If you have chosen to spend your time griping to others about how unfair life can be, then you have the time to realize the actions required to change it. If you have the time to criticize others who are happy with their lives, then you have the time to determine what you need to do to satisfy your own, putting those realized actions into motion.
  • Do not succumb to your past negative experiences that have defined your life up to this point. Reflect and eject or define and redesign! Recognize and get rid of those experiences not applicable to your present life. Or, acknowledge those hindrances and transform them into positives. We only become strong by being willing to overcome. Once we overcome the negatives in our past, we can then view them as a present and future positive, in retrospect.
  • Do not allow present or future obstacles to terminate your journey. Push them aside, jump over them, steer around them, or do whatever you have to do to find your way back to the path you once initiated. If the obstacles are applicable to your future and you must bring them along, simply take them under your wing and walk, instead of flying. More time will be required to reach your destination, but at least you will be continuing in the right direction. According to Carol Carter, Joyce Bishop and Sarah Lyman Kravits (2002), “When you set goals, prioritize, and manage your time effectively, . . . you can develop the kind of focus that will help you achieve . . . ” Individuals and the whole team can utilize this strategy to enhance their own time management skills.
  • Time management can be accomplished at the individual level by assessing one’s daily schedule. Write a list of wanted accomplishments, and then prioritize. Be realistic when compiling a daily schedule, and do not list more than can be effectively achieved by sundown.
  • Take control of goals and stay on task. Learn how to say “no” to keep control of your schedule. If unforeseen deviations do occur, simply get back on track as soon as possible.
  • Times saving techniques are also helpful with effective time management. Take a few minute each day to plan the events happening that day, or schedule known appointments and other obligations occurring days, weeks, even months away, and then regressing to mark progress thus far. Day Runners, calendars, date books, PDAs and computers are some of the many tools available for using time wisely. Place items in “urgent” and “non-urgent” categories as the list is compiled. (Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants Principle). Schedule within a reasonable time frame. Allow for relaxation breaks so that the focus is heightened once back on task.

Incorporating critical thinking into our daily lives and daily routines will help us to use this technique in many areas of our lives and make more effective decisions. As the day starts, think through your day and look over your daily list to see in any adjustments need to be made. Again allow for flexibility.

Use problem-solving for conflicts in goals needing to be met for the day. Prioritize these goals and re-evaluate as necessary. Listen to pre-recorded messages when commuting to enhance your retention. This will also develop auditory skills while, simutaneously, saving time.

While at work, take advantage of break times and lunch times to fit some time for review. Keep a notepad available or PDA to make notations during the day of important ideas.

As a group, time management can be accomplished by effective communication within the working group. Explore all avenues to contact each team member. Some ways to contact each other is by email and phone. When going into the team work area online, check in to allow other members of the team to know your presence. This will allow time for dialogue. Establish set time schedules with the group to be together to go over projects online.

If a member cannot be present then they should contact another team member and follow-up after the meeting to understand the team discussion and plans. Another effective time management tool is for the team to be have defined individual roles and each to be accountable and responsible. If everyone pulls their roles and does her part of the goal then all will have equal weight and more will be accomplished towards the team goal. The individual and team effort to time management will enhance team performance as well as enhance team outcomes. (Carol Carter, Joyce Bishop and Sarah Lyman Kravits, 2002).

Conflict within a team can either be constructive or destructive and is dependent upon each affiliate’s adeptness to manage the projected outcome (Porter, 2003). Conflict occurs when communications break down, assumptions are made, and then animosity makes itself present as a result.

The potential for conflict can arise within any type of team, yet does not have to be viewed as inevitable if the proper precautionary measures are initiated. The team’s ability to collaboratively prevent its occurrence or resolve preexisting conflict is the primary challenges. An opening analysis of possible discrepancies, along with detailed strategies to triumph over them or, better yet, avoid them entirely should be implemented at the team’s first encounter.

While working in a team setting, everyone must be considerate of each other’s perspectives while, simultaneously, demonstrating their own capacity to acknowledge and reciprocate each of the following: suitable rapport, positive feedback, suggestive statements, and constructive criticism. Although the motivations and intrinsic ideas concerning how the overall goals will be met are uniquely subjective, each is entitled to their own opinion. Every member of the team should be focus on their commonalities in an effort to view the bigger picture, working collectively toward the ultimate goals of the team.

To effectively deal with conflicts in a team, one mustfirst deal with their own internal dissensions, thereby allowing proficiency in relating to others. Many conflicts stem from the impending presence of divergent attitudes, values, and perceptions within the team. (DeJanasz-Dowd-Schneider, 2001) Before trying to resolve team conflict, one must take the time to consider the beliefs applicable to each member, as well as their own, incorporating a substantial portion of each into the final thoughts. One must organize these multifaceted thoughts into ideas reflective of each member’s perspectives. Upon doing so, one exhibits their own critical thinking skills while, concurrently, presenting themselves to their teammates as non-judgmental and approachable, open-minded and adaptable. In Resolving Conflicts on the Job, Wisinksi (1993) suggests his unique “A-E -I-O-U” model as a guide one can utilize when discussing a resolution within a team:

  • A Assume the other people involved in the conflict mean well.
  • E Express your own feelings.
  • I Identify what you would like to see happen.
  • O Outcome – express the outcome you would like to see while remaining open to another outcome that may satisfy your needs and concerns.
  • U Understanding – the agreement should be understood, and committed to, by each member of the team (pp. 27) Once the individual team members understand the conflict, they can analyze all concerning parameters and resolve the conflict in unison. Once the individual team members understand the conflict, they can analyze all concerning parameters and resolve the conflict in unison.

One approach to managing conflict is Endelburg’s “4 Rs Method” as presented below:

  1. Reasons. The causes or reasons for the conflict are explored and openly, yet respectfully discussed.
  2. Reactions. Team members look at their own reactions to the conflict. If those reactions are destructive, rather than constructive, individuals can self-correct and take the necessary steps to recommit to team success.
  3. Results. If the conflict is not resolved, what might happen? How might the team work together to resolve the conflict in a constructive manner?
  4. Resolution. Which approach to conflict resolution could be used to effectively resolve the conflict? (Engleburg, 2003).

When the situation becomes uncontrollable, setting up a resolution meeting would be the best approach. Any conflict between individual members needs to be addressed through the team room, rather than individually without the team’s support. Problems usually arise when the team has to make up for the lack of participation on behalf of one or more slacking players.

Informing the team of potential delays well in advance allows for the timely delegating of additional assigned tasks to the remaining members. Assigning two team members to complete one broad task can prevent the last minute rush to make up for an individual’s deficient effort. All primary elements are represented in the final product, despite the unaccountable party’s lack of contribution

. Identifying potential dilemmas in the beginning and creating alternate strategies to compensate for them (should they arise) alleviates these stressful, last minute, accommodations. Once all other paths to resolve conflict within the teamhave been exhausted to no avail, the team should then turn to a facilitator outside the realm of the team for mediation. As a nonpartisan party, this person would make unbiased assertions to resolve the conflict, after examining the substantial arguments on both sides.

While working in a support group systemit is important to work collaboratively to complete the assigned task, each team member having their own contributions, validating and reinforcing the improvement of other’s weaknesses, and (in turn) feeding off each other’s strengths.

A team whose members qualify the ultimate goal by exhibiting courtesy and respect to all their counterparts will significantly diminish their risks for conflict. If each member acknowledges their own strengths and weaknesses, along with those of their constituents and utilizes each positive and negative aspect for the betterment of the team, the collaborative goal will certainly prevail. In regard to the assigned tasks, the team should utilize their established dynamic principles and collaboratively work toward the common goal of the team.

To be on the safe side, the team should unanimously agree to have the task completed at least one day prior to the deadline, so that procrastination does not overrule and equate to a sloppy presentation.

Knowing that each team member is equally responsible for contributing their part, and accountable for the entire outcome, each member is obligated to not only do their part, but also assist with their teammates’ assigned tasks. To be effectively presented, each right hand must know what the left hand is doing.

Members of a team should provide a thorough review of each other’s work as evidenced by an accurate summation of the topic covered, highlighting the most impressive points, then (if applicable) proceeding to constructively criticize anything they see as inappropriate, redundant, inaccurate, unappealing, etc., with detailed suggestions for improvement.

Each individual contribution is a reflection each participant and so should be revised several times to emit a positive light.

Once all revisions have been made, the drawing up of the final draft should (again) be collaborative effort. Any and all missed discrepancies will be accounted for on this pre-final review.

Once all mistakes are well documented, the final report can be drawn and submitted to the team for a final analysis. If the team is in unanimous agreement, the project can then be submitted.

In conclusion, a group must be effective in carrying out their assigned tasks. For effectiveness to occur, each member must be fair-minded, respectful of their teammates, dedicated to meeting the deadline, and willing to work through potential rough spots in order to be a valid representation in their team, bringing the team as a whole to the ultimate goal. When the task is complete, each member can take pride in their work, both as an individual and as a team.

References

Engleberg, I., Wynn, D., & Schuttler R. (2003). Working in groups: Communication Principles and Strategies (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p.154.

DeJanasz-Dowd-Schneider, (2001). Interpersonal Skills in Organization. McGraw-Hill Companies, p. 246.

Shelia Porter JD, (2003). Managing Conflicts in Learning Teams. University Of Phoenix; Learning Team Toolkit, p. 1.

Wisnski, J. (1993). Resolving Conflicts on the Job. New York; American Management Association, p. 27-31.

Agnew, T. (2005, April). Dynamic teams and team dynamics: at RCN congress this month, RCN clinical leadership team co-director Anne Benson will explain her ideas on enhancing team effectiveness. Nursing Management (Harrow), 12 (1), pg. 7(1). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

Bookman, B. (1992, August). Developing teams. Training, 29(8), pg. 12(2). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

Dawson, J. (2005, April). The S.E.C.R.E.T. to successful team dynamics. Business Credit, 107(4), pg. 24(2). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

Hultman, K. (1998, February). The 10 commandments of team leadership. Training and Development, 52(2), pg. 12 (2). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

News. (2004, August 10). Personnel Today, pg. 7, 1 pg. Retrieved May 19, 2005, from ProQuest database.

Steinfeld, C. (1997, April). Challenge courses can build strong teams. Training and Development, 51(4), pg. 12(2). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

“team dynamics” The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science and Medicine. Oxford University Press, 1998. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Apollo Group. 20 May 2005

Morris, C. G., Maisto, A.A. (2005). Psychology: An Introduction. (12th ed.). In Social Psychology, (pp. 590-591). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

All the information was extracted from The Hub

http://naturesencore.hubpages.com/hub/OrganizationalTeamwork

Finding the right career tip


“1: Identify occupations that match your interests

So how do you translate your interests into a new career? With a little research, you may be surprised at the careers that relate to many of the things you love to do.

Career Path

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Career tests

Different online tools can guide you through the process of self-discovery. Questions, quizzes, and personality assessments can’t tell you what your perfect career would be, but they can help you identify what’s important to you in a career, what you enjoy doing, and where you excel. One example, frequently used by universities and the U.S. government, is the RIASEC/Holland interest scale. It outlines six common personality types, such as investigative, social, or artistic, and enables you to browse sample careers based on the type of personality you most identify with. Find links to this and other online career tests in the Resources section below.

Researching specific careers

If you have narrowed down some specific jobs or careers, you can find a wealth of information online, from description of positions to average salaries and estimated future growth. This will also help you figure out the practical priorities: How stable is the field you are considering? Are you comfortable with the amount of risk? Is the salary range acceptable to you? What about commute distances? Will you have to relocate for training or a new job? Will the new job affect your family?

Get support and information from others

While you can glean a lot of information from research and quizzes, there’s no substitute for information from someone currently working in your chosen career. Talking to someone in the field gives you a real sense of what type of work you will actually be doing and if it meets your expectations. What’s more, you will start to build connections in your new career area, helping you land a job in the future. Does approaching others like this seem intimidating? It doesn’t have to be. Networking and informational interviewing are important skills that can greatly further your career.

You may also consider career counseling or a job coach, especially if you are considering a major career shift. Sometimes impartial advice from others can open up possibilities you hadn’t considered.

Finding the right career tip 2: Evaluate your strengths and skills

Once you have a general idea of your career path, take some time to figure out what skills you have and what skills you need. Remember, you’re not completely starting from scratch—you already have some skills to start. These skills are called transferable skills, and they can be applied to almost any field. Some examples include:

  • management and leadership experience
  • communication (both written and oral)
  • research and program planning
  • public speaking
  • conflict resolution and mediation
  • managing your time effectively
  • computer literacy
  • foreign language fluency

Tips for discovering your transferable career skills

  • Don’t limit yourself to experiences only at work. When you are thinking about your skills, consider all types of activities including volunteering, hobbies, and life experiences. For example, even if you don’t have formal leadership or program planning experience, founding a book club or organizing a toy drive are ways that you have been putting these skills into practice.
  • List your accomplishments that might fit in. Don’t worry about formatting these skills for a resume at this point. You just want to start thinking about what skills you have. It can be a tremendous confidence booster to realize all of the skills you’ve developed.
  • Brainstorm with trusted friends, colleagues, or mentors. They may be able to identify transferable skills you’ve overlooked or help you better articulate these skills in the future.
  • Uncover more transferable skills by taking the online tests listed in the Resources section below.

Finding the right career tip 3: Develop your skills and experience

If your chosen career requires skills or experience you lack, don’t despair. There are many ways to gain needed skills. While learning, you’ll also have an opportunity to find out whether or not you truly enjoy your chosen career and also make connections that could lead to your dream job.

Gaining career skills:

  • Utilize your current position. Look for on-the-job training or opportunities to do projects that develop new skills. See if your employer will pay part of your tuition costs.
  • Identify resources in the community. Find out about programs in your community. Community colleges or libraries often offer low cost opportunities to strengthen skills such as computers, basic accounting, or how to start a business. Local Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Administrations, or state job development programs are also excellent resources.
  • Volunteer or work as an intern. Some career skills can be acquired by volunteering or doing an internship. This has the added benefit of getting you in contact with people in your chosen field.
  • Take classes. Some fields require specific education or skills, such as an educational degree or specific training. Don’t automatically rule out more education as impossible. Many fields have accelerated programs if you already have some education, or you may be able to do night classes or part-time schooling so that you can continue to work. Some companies even offer tuition reimbursements if you stay at the company after you finish your education.

Finding right career tip 4: Consider starting your own business

If you’re getting worn down by a long commute or a difficult boss, the thought of working for yourself can be very appealing. And even in a slower economy, it’s still possible to find your perfect niche. Depending on the specialty, some companies prefer to streamline their ranks and work with outside vendors. However, it is especially important to do your homework and understand the realities of business ownership before you jump in.

  • Make sure you are committed to and passionate about your business idea. You will be spending many long hours getting started, and it may take a while for your business to pay off.
  • Research is critical. Take some time to analyze your area of interest. Are you filling an unmet need? Especially if you are considering an online business, how likely is your area to be outsourced? What is your business plan, and who are your potential investors? Learn more in the Resources section below.
  • Expect limited or no earnings to start. Especially in the first few months, you are building your base and may have start-up costs that offset any profit initially. Make sure you have a plan on how to cope during this period.

Final tips for career changers

  • Pace yourself and don’t take on too much at once. Career change doesn’t happen overnight, and it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the steps to successfully change careers. However, you will get there with commitment and motivation. Break down large goals into smaller ones, and try to accomplish at least one small thing a day to keep the momentum going.
  • Don’t rush into a change because of unhappiness in your current job. If you are stressed and unhappy in your current job, or unemployed, you might be feeling a lot of pressure to make a quick change. However, if you don’t do enough research, you might end up in an even worse position than before, with the added stress of a new position and new learning curve.
  • Ease slowly into your new career. Take time to network, volunteer, and even work part-time in your new field before committing fully. It will not only be an easier transition, but you will have time to ensure you are on the right path and make any necessary changes before working full-time in your new field.
  • Take care of yourself. You might be feeling so busy with the career transition that you barely have time to sleep or eat. However, managing stress, eating right, and taking time for sleep, exercise, and loved ones will ensure you have the stamina for the big changes ahead.”

Article taken from http://www.helpguide.org/life/finding_career.htm

The Importance of a Positive Attitude by Jeff Boo


“What is the reason behind the different reactions from different people to one specific circumstance?

Positive mind

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Well, your reaction and ultimately your decision depend greatly on how you perceive a situation.

Take a minute to view your mind and see the flow of your thoughts.

Are those thoughts in your mind more of the negative ones or positive ones?

Have you ever wondered why a friend will walk up to you to cheer you up when you are feeling down even though you did not tell him or her anything about how you feel?

It is not that your friend can read you like a book, but your attitude and expression tell it all.

So what actually that is so powerful to affect your attitude in general? It will be none other than your mind. If you are negative about certain things that happened, your powerful frame of mind will affect your attitude in general.

You cannot simply hide your attitude as it will be shown through your face expressions, actions, speeches and appearances. Unless you are one excellent actor, people will sense your negativity when they come near you.

Beware! A negative mindset can be contagious. Anyone who gets near you can be affected by you almost instantaneously. Negativity will not only give you a gloomy and vexatious appearance, but also has the tendency to turn a happy gathering into a mourning session.

On the other hand, a positive mindset can energize you both mentally and physically, making you feeling more enthusiastic in pursuing your dream. Having a positive attitude has the power to make you appear happy and confidence. In addition, you can even have the power to affect others and hence, attract people towards you.

People with negative mind and hence negative attitude tend to shy away from challenges given to them. Negative thoughts may bring about fear; the fear of failure, the fear of what other would say about him or her, as well as the fear losing one’s security. And when you are always in your comfort zone, you will never have the chance to step on the ground of a better zone.

A positive mindset and hence, a positive attitude can benefit a person a lot. A person who projects a positive attitude loves to take up challenges given to him or her. He or she is also better in handling pressure in life and is more proactive in solving problems. In fact, it was proven in studies that a positive mindset can even lead to better health.

If positive attitude gives such good benefits, why are most people around you seemed to have negative attitudes?

You need to know that reality in life is not always everything’s coming up roses and the worst fact is that there seems to be more negative things happening around you than the positive ones. Hence, unless you can be utterly oblivious of what is happening around you, you need to adopt a positive attitude to handle all these negativities and be a winner.

Nothing wrong with feeling annoyed, down, and sad at times, but to be in such stages for too long will not do you any good. In fact, these emotions can do harm to your health. Problems can arise no matter you are one positive guy or one negative soul, so why not adopt a positive attitude to solve your problems as it will make your life much easier.

It won’t do you harm and it has so much to gain just by believing in yourself.

Start today.”

Article by Jeff Boo

About the Author : Ready to make full use of your power of mind to change your life for the better? Check out http://www.powerofmindtips.com FREE special report given.

 

How to Have a Positive Attitude at Work


This article is the fifth in a 10-part series on the topic of overcoming career-limiting habits.

My former co-worker (let’s call her “Ruth”) always saw the negative in everything. When an idea was presented, she was the first one to say, “That won’t work.” Fair enough. But she never offered alternatives. She never looked for solutions. She never, ever gave anything or anyone the benefit of the doubt. Ruth was an absolute nightmare to work with.

I understand that some people are just naturally more positive than others. And I truly believe that every operation works best when there are a wide variety of personalities in the mix. But negativity for its own sake rarely serves a purpose. And people who can’t demonstrate a positive “can do” attitude in the workplace are truly damaging their career future.

In a recent survey, negative attitude was listed as the fifth most common career limiting habit. Not surprising. Who wants to work with a sour puss? What company wants to reward (i.e., promote) that kind of behavior? Negative people, at best, stay put. At worst, they’re shown the door.

Why Attitude Matters

You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? I’m just being honest. I have to voice my opinions and be myself. I don’t do the fake stuff.”

That’s fine. No one’s asking you to fake it…much. The workplace is a living, breathing organism and everyone impacts it. Your negative attitude can bring down the entire thing. It’s as contagious as an airborne virus.

Now, let me also be clear: Voicing a dissenting opinion, speaking assertively and saying “no” are not inherently negative. You can—and should—embrace your individuality and your professional power. But your delivery has a huge impact. Done in the wrong way, these things can certainly appear negative.

There are, however, a few simple strategies to keep in mind that will help you demonstrate a positive attitude, while still being yourself in the workplace:

Smile

It’s amazing how powerful a smile can be. It actually changes your brain chemistry. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to smile regularly throughout the day. Others will respond to you more favorably and you’ll naturally feel more positive.

Seek Solutions

Negative people see obstacles. Positive people look for solutions. Instead of pointing out a challenge and waving the white flag of surrender, approach it like a puzzle. How can we turn the situation around? How can we fix the problem? How can we make this work? It’s fine to be skeptical, but bring your own ideas to the table as well.

Remain Professional

Negativity comes from a place of emotion: Frustration, anger, disappointment, etc. Do your best to set these feelings aside. The workplace is a professional environment—it’s your responsibility to act professionally. That means using tact and diplomacy, stating facts before feelings, and finding ways to get the job done—even when it’s uncomfortable.

Respect the Team

Negativity sucks the energy from those around you. Give your team members the respect they deserve. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly positive, focus on the bigger picture. You’re a part of the team and your attitude matters. A little effort goes a long way.

Negativity is like a boomerang: It always comes back to you. Likewise, the more you project a positive attitude, the more positivity will come your way. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else. Just recognize the powerful force that is your attitude, and use it to your advantage.

The article is  Written by Chrissy Scivicque, August 01st, 2011

http://www.eatyourcareer.com/2011/08/positive-attitude-at-work/”

 


Gikasan Services Inc, Owner William Herrera is looking for two persons in South Jersey to help in his company. He has the contract to clean Ross Stores in Voorhees and Apple Stores in Cherry Hill NJ.

Job available
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If you are interested please contact admin at 856-433-8104 or send a message by inbox.

What’s Old, What’s New in writing a Resume By Justin Thompson


It seems everyone has an opinion on what a resume should contain, how many pages it should be and how it should be formatted. So as we enter into a new year, what are the universally agreed-upon elements that are in, and which ones are now passe? Here are some of the best practices when it comes to crafting your resume.

Hire Me

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1. Stop trying to make ‘objective statements’ happen.

The days of including a career objective and/or professional summary are over. It’s a waste of valuable space. Instead, just address this with a sentence in your cover letter about how the position you’re applying for fits into your overall career plan. Get to business by starting with accomplishments and facts that are relevant to the job posting.

2. Be concrete.

Use numbers and proof of what you’ve done. “Increased sales by 35 percent through client profiling campaign” is better than “Increased sales in my region.” Stop putting generic tasks down, and instead, get creative in portraying what you did in your role or how you brought forth new ideas for products, processes, efficiency, etc. The more you can quantify your efforts with actual numbers or data, the better positioned you’ll be.

3. Cover letters are back.

Like the “two page versus one page” debate, the subject of cover letters is heated. While some recruiters say they don’t bother looking at them, others say some job seekers have grown lazy and won’t take the time to write one or tailor one specifically to the company to which they are applying. It’s a perfect opportunity to sell yourself, and it’s where you can infuse personality into your application. But once you craft a terrific cover letter, don’t just push it out to every job prospect. Take the extra few minutes to tailor it to why you want that specific job at that specific company and why your skills would benefit the overall organization if hired.

4. Keywords are your friend.

If a recruiter or manager can put your resume side-by-side with the job requirements and check off the same keywords, you’ve made his life so much easier. Instead of using a lot of useless jargon on your resume, pay attention to the keywords in the job posting. Be sure to use them in your resume and cover letter, because even applicant tracking systems are based on keyword searches. Just as you use keywords to search for jobs, employers are using keywords to find your resume.

5. Get creative with quick response codes.

Young professionals are using QR codes — bar codes that can be scanned by smartphones to download or link to information — on the back of business cards and on their resume to link to online portfolios. As you network and attend career fairs, you’re able to pass out business cards with the QR code that can link recruiters and other contacts to either your portfolio or LinkedIn profile so they can instantly connect with you.

6. Wow with visual resumes.

More people are using tools to help illustrate their work history through sites such as Vizualize.me. These sites offer tools to help individuals present the information on their resumes in a unique way that stands out. Just remember that you still need a traditional format to hand out or attach to make it easy for saving in company databases.

7. Give video a chance.

In this tough economy, job seekers are going to creative lengths to get their name, talents and personality in front of employers, like this resume video for a Google position. If you’re going to create something like this, make sure you’re providing substance or showing off your soft skills within the video instead of just doing something flashy to get the recruiter’s attention.

8. Social media are here to stay

If you’re not using social media to promote yourself, you’re missing out. Just as employers use multiple avenues to push out job postings, you as a job seeker need to use all the channels available to you to put yourself in front of recruiters. Using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn as a means to give updates on your career or connect with other professionals gives your resume legs and can make you more memorable as a candidate. But since companies are screening candidates through social media, make sure your online profiles are either professional facing or locked for outside viewing.

Justin Thompson is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.