Personal leadership and Covey’s theory

To bring out the best of yourself and the people around you, it’s important to be in control. With personal leadership, you maintain control of your career and development. And with that basis, you can be a leader to others. Curious what personal leadership means and how you can develop it? All will be explained in this article based on Covey’s theory.

Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and your values in mind, and adjusting your life to be consistent with it.

Stephan Covey

Personal leadership and the competencies list

Jack Zenger underlines Covey's vision in his article in the Harvard Business Review. He investigated which competencies are considered by employees and managers as crucial for a management position. In his article, Zenger concludes that someone who is capable of leadership:
  • inspires and motivates
  • is honest and sincere
  • is result-oriented
  • cooperative
  • and someone who knows how to build up relationships.

He indicates that these competencies are not only a condition for leadership, but also for personal leadership and a successful career. Regardless of your job level in the company where you work. Whether you start somewhere as an intern or as a CEO of a company, the basis remains the same.


Personal leadership and what you can do in concrete terms

So now you know which competencies you need to pursue in order to be able to achieve personal leadership, and that you need in order to make your vision and values clear, so you’re able to live by them. The following steps will help you become the best version of yourself, and take control of your career.


What are your values?

Figure out what you think is important, and why you do things the way you do. This is how you get to your core values. Ask yourself the question: what do I get out of bed for? What makes life and work worthwhile? What motivates me? Don’t hesitate to consult Google. Lists of examples of values can help you find the values that best suit you. Then, always make use of your values when making decisions. If an assignment or job matches your values, chances are that you’ll completely be right where you need to be.


Dot on the horizon

Set goals. So you’re not at the mercy of chance, but actively working on the development of your career and your vision. When setting goals, it’s important that they are all yours, specific, challenging and achievable. A goal that is too vague is difficult to pursue. So don't say: I want to manage a large group of people, but something more like: as a manager, I want to manage a sales team of at least five people and help them develop and grow within their jobs. By setting a goal that is as challenging as it is achievable, and that fits you completely, you’ll stay motivated in achieving that goal. You’ll stay on course by always keeping a sharp eye on your goal and keeping track of progress. Reflect regularly on whether or not you’re still on the right track, and make adjustments if necessary.


Utilize your full potential

In order to be the best version of yourself, it’s important to stay close to yourself. That means knowing what you’re good at, but also what you’re not so good at. By using your full potential, and actively developing it, you keep control of your career. Focus on the competencies that you need in order to achieve your personal goals, and that support your personal leadership. Enjoy the successes achieved, but also start thinking about the next step. By keeping yourself forward-moving, you’ll always get the most out of yourself.


Inspire others

Discover where you can really contribute and inspire the people around you. This of course applies to when you’re working in a managerial position, but not just only then. If you’re the best version of yourself, and you share this with others, then colleagues will also want to get involved with you, regardless of your position in the company. The more you use your power and potential, the more meaningful you are for your environment. And the more you can create a situation where you can rise even above yourself.

Are you curious as to which soft skills can add even more value for you in the workplace?

Read more about soft skills tips & blogs here!

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