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Principle Centered Leadership

Stephen Covey encourages us to utilize four central principles (security, guidance, wisdom, power) as the core in our personal and professional lives. Covey believes that centering our lives on these principles is “the key to developing [the] rich internal power in our lives”. The book is divided into two sections: Section 1 addresses personal and interpersonal effectiveness, while Section 2 examines managerial and organizational development. Covey offers guidelines and tips on how to achieve a more principle-centered perspective

Principle Vs Values:
Both values and principles can dictate our behaviour and how we judge and evaluate our environment. Values are subjective, temporary maps that show us where to go or what to do given a particular situation. They can become obsolete when the situation changes. Values represent our cultural influences, personal discoveries and family scripts. They vary from person to person or more accurately from role to role. We each carry different sets of values for our different roles.  Sometimes the values can contradict each other and change over time depending on our newly acquired experiences and insights.
On the other hand, principles are like compasses that point us to our future direction. They are objective, unchanging natural laws that are correct and relevant regardless of the external circumstances. They are timeless, universal behaviour standards that have governed the social values of all the great human societies and civilization. They apply to all of us and all roles at whatever time and place and in whatever situation. Examples of these include equality, fairness, justice, integrity and honesty.
A principle centered life:
When our lives are not governed by principles, we have no real power. Our strength will be based on other people and external circumstances which are never reliable. When we center our lives on correct principles, we become our own masters. We learn to chart our own course and remain steadfast no matter what happens. We are neither threatened by change or other people’s opinions. This is a very strong position for one to have no matter what course of life they take. I have realized that when I hold fast to my governing principles, I have so much inner peace, a clear sense of direction and sense of fulfillment unlike when I base my actions on other people’s opinions or external circumstances.
Day of Rest
The universe and its system has been set in a way that it operates in seasons. The ground needs time to rest before the next planting, a car needs to be periodically serviced and in the same way, the body needs periodic rest. In a fast paced economy and generation, it is so easy to ignore the signals that our bodies offer us. I have found myself running for weeks without rest until finally my body gives way. I know this is not healthy and yet from time to time I find myself in this same position. Taking a day of rest is a discipline that is much needed in our day and age. Much of the stress related illness could be avoided if we take the necessary measures and precautions to allow our bodies the so much needed rest. When we make time for rest, we also make time for our minds to recollect, evaluate and refocus so as to stay on the cutting edge of life.
Trustworthiness at the personal level:
Trust is the basis of all personal relationships. In order to gain other people’s trust, you should first earn that trust by showing that you are trustworthy. Trustworthiness on the personal level is based on one’s character and competence. In order to get people to consider your trustworthy, you need to convince them that not only are you good and honest but also that you can do what they expect you to do.  I have realized that it is easy to acquire skills that increase your competence but the hard part is developing the character that matches that competence. In order to develop character and achieve primary greatness, it is essential to cultivate integrity, maturity and an abundance mentality.
Obstacles and Opportunities:

Its true there are many obstacles a leader must overcome to steer the ship to shore. Equally, true are numerous opportunities life provides for the individual leader to navigate the tough unfamiliar territories in personal, professional, business and marriage life among others. Majority of obstacles can’t be solved by quick fix solutions. That is not to suggest, these obstacles are unsolvable. Many times, it isn’t the magnitude of the obstacle as it is the method used which presents great challenges to the leader. It also good for a leader to be aware that there are natural laws and principles governing the solution to problems in life. One such is the law of the farm. A leader expecting good returns must in the same manner prepare the ground, lay aside excess baggage and nurture his followers in the process to attain maturity. In this way the team is able to achieve the goals set together. Throughout this book, the author emphasizes the need for team spirit in principled leadership.
Obeying your conscience:
Training and following one’s conscience is a key to developing character. This also means that you learn to hold yourself accountable for your life and life choices. over the years I have come to learn that truth always lies in the heart though often times we try to look for it from other people and things. I have learnt to listen and to follow my conscience and each time I do, I save myself a whole lot of trouble and errors. It is a discipline that can be developed and can become a way of life that we adopt. I believe that for every leader, you will be faced with tough decisions and in times like that; the best place to look for direction and answers is within, by obeying your conscience. I have practiced this principle often and I have not gone wrong so I believe that it works.
Blind Spot:
Everyone has a blind spot. A blind spot could be a stop downhill or simply an area on the road where wild animal’s jump straight in front of your car from the bush unexpectedly. A leader must be able to acknowledge and accept the shortfalls to forge ahead. Instead of explaining it away and giving excuses to justify the blind spot, in personal, professional, business, marriage, health and fitness, a leader must be prepared to analyze the situation if indeed the situation requires adjustment to ease tension in the organization. Principle centered leader also recognizes the inadequacy in human being and accepts their own blind spot and those of followers. Only then is a leader capable of providing quality leadership skills devoid of pretense to the followers. It takes courage, scrutiny and honesty to acknowledge and adept you too have blind spots as a leader.

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