Covey: A New Paradigm 1
Running head: COVEY: A NEW PARADIGM FOR LEADERSHIP
Covey: A New Paradigm For Leadership
Leadership & Management Pre-Assignment
Seton Hall University
Executive Ed.D Program
Covey: A New Paradigm 2
Covey: A New Paradigm For Leadership Leadership & Management Pre-Assignment
Principle Centered Leadership is divided into two sections. In section one,
Covey discusses personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Section two delves into
managerial and organizational development. In both portions of the book, Covey outlines
for readers a model of leadership that could prove beneficial for both leaders and
Section One: Personal and Interpersonal Effectiveness
According to Covey (1990), principle-centered leadership is practiced on four
levels: Personal, Interpersonal, Managerial, and Organizational. Each of these levels is
connected; one can develop principle-centered leadership if each of these levels works in
concert with each other. It is important to note that each of these levels is developed
from within the leader, not from outside influences.
Covey expands on principle-centered leadership by discussing the characteristics
common in these types of leaders. Namely, principle-centered leaders are continually
learning, are service-oriented, exert positive energy, believe in other people, lead
balanced lives, see life as an adventure and also see the whole as more than the sum of
the parts. Finally, they regularly exercise the four dimensions of the human personality:
physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Covey (1990) goes on to outline the three character traits that are essential to
Greatness: Integrity, Maturity, and Abundance Mentality. With these character traits
come three types of power. Coercive Power is derived from getting followers to follow
out of fear; they are compelled to accomplish tasks through fear of what might happen to
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them if they do not. Utility Power is attained when followers follow because of the
potential benefits (personal or political) that may be gained if they do. Principle-Centered
Power is Covey’s theory. This type of power is the most desirable. It is power that some
people have with others because others tend to believe in them and in what they are
trying to accomplish. Followers follow because they believe in their leader and their
Section Two: Managerial and Organizational Development
Covey believes that there are seven chronic problems within modern
organizations. These seven problems (lack of vision, lack of direction, poor alignment,
unhealthy management philosophies, poor management skills, lack of trust, and a
shortage of integrity) compound to make employees unhappy, discontented, and disloyal.
Much of these current problems with management can be traced back to management
paradigms that have fallen out of favor with Covey. The scientific management
paradigm and the human relations paradigm have served society well during the
Industrial Age and the post World War II era. But they now fail to meet the needs of the
modern employee. In contrast, the human resource paradigm has recognized that people
want to make meaningful contributions to society and to a company or system. Covey
explains that principle-centered leadership can serve as the new model of management.
This paradigm suggests that they want meaning, a sense of doing something that matters.
Unfortunately, I have worked with many teachers and administrators who lack a
principle-centered approach to teaching and leading. Many of my former and current
colleagues seem to lack a purpose. This is especially true in my dealings with
Superintendents and principals.
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Two of my former superiors come immediately to mind when I think of leaders
who lack principle-centered power. Coercive and utility powers have been the driving
force in their method of management. Many teachers approach their duties and
responsibilities with a sense of doing what needs to be done not because it is the right
thing to do, but rather because it is what will keep them in their jobs. In short, coercive
power seems to be the power of choice for many of the superintendents I have worked
Applying Covey’s theory of principle-centered leadership seems natural to me.
As a devout Catholic I have made it a point to approach my career as a mission. Through
education I aim to reach those who are in most need, feel rejected by the system, turned
off to learning, or in danger of abandoning the pursuit of knowledge and education
altogether. Thus I have keen sense of purpose and see my career as a service to society,
not as a means to merely earn a salary.
In my office I have placed on my desk a simple card that reads “God Is The
Beginning And The End”. It is there to remind me that I am not the keeper of truth or the
authority on matters of the heart and mind. It is a simple reminder, but one that assist me
in keeping my purpose clear and my mission alive: to treat everyone as I would treat
Christ. For me, that paradigm has mirrored the power of Covey’s. In a sense, the
principles espoused by Christ and my faith have lead me closer to developing a style of
leadership that can only be beneficial to those I serve.
Covey, S. R. (1990). Principle centered leadership. New York, NY: Free Press.
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