7 Habits of a Highly Effective Business Leader

7 Habits of a Highly Effective Business Leader

business leader

Stephen Covey famously wrote the best seller, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

I was working at Equinox Fitness in 2008 when a friend and fellow personal trainer gave me Stephen Covey’s book as a birthday gift.

I recently had a lecture where the professor put a business spin on the seven habits.

I’m going to briefly review an updated version of “7 Habits of Highly Effective Business Leaders.”

Starting off with…

#1. Be Proactive, rather than reactive.

Being a leader who takes initiative is paramount.

#2. Being with the end (goal) in mind.

Establish goals for yourself and organization, then pursue them.

#3. Put first things first.

Prioritize and manage tie efficiently. Knowing what is coming is most important.

Ask yourself, “what is going to yield the most return on investment?”

Putting first things first also relies on a high level of self-management.

#4. Think win-win.

The art of collaboration and working with people and not against them.

Thinking in terms of “win-win” also prevents a business leader from burning any bridges.

#5. Seek first to understand, then be understood.

It is important that a leader learns to listen.

Let the other person speak and take in as much information as possible.

Listening to people also allows a leader to hear where a person’s mentality it at.

What their needs are.

#6. Synergize

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Owning a job versus owning a firm or company.

Don’t be the business leader who wants to do it all.

Synergize within a team of specialist who you rely on upon through efficient delegation.

#7. Sharpen the saw.

Never stop learning.

Here I am at 39, back in school pursuing an undergraduate degree in Business.

This is an example of the principle of self-renewal.

#8 Always Remeber Parkinson’s law

AKA procrastination.

Also, workers in an office environment do not want to be the oddball who works hard.

An employee or worker who takes two hours to do one hour of work.

An employees work will expand to fill the time allotted.


The last habit is a bonus.

I wanted to provide a sticking point that is apart of human nature.

It’s built into the system whether a person knows this or not.

Every manager or business leader must always

5 Traits of The Big Five Personality Test

5 Traits of The Big Five Personality Test

This semester at Berkeley College (NYC) I took the big five personality test assessment. The test highlighted strengths and weaknesses I can improve to become a more effective leader.

You can see and read about my test results here.

personalityThe Big Five Personality Traits of Effective Leadership. Also known as the five factor model (FFM).


The Big Five personality traits, also known as the five factor model (FFM), is a model based on …. of professions, individuals were asked to take a personality test and have two evaluations completed by directly supervised subordinates.
1. Surgency

Surgency is comprised of high energy, extraversion, and dominance.

Dominance is an important trait for leaders to have to be effective and successful. Dominance shows that successful leaders assert themselves and want to be managed, while still having the drive to lead.

Extraversion is not an absolute. We all as humans fluctuate between moments of being introverted or extroverted.

When a leader is acting in an outgoing fashion, looking to meet and engage with new people, while remaining open and willing to being assertive or confronting others.

Introverts are more analytical, observant and reserved in leadership roles. Many online forums and discussion boards have referenced introverts as shy or timid. For the big five personality test, introvert references someone who excels within themselves, versus externally.

High energy with ambition.

Many leaders are naturally influential. Leaders with high energy are infectious. They have the ability to channel their energy into productive and to achieve goals.

2. Agreeableness

Agreeableness is based on sociability, sensitivity, and emotional intelligence.

Sociability and sensitivity reference people who will seek out enjoyable social interactions. Those who are friendly, easy to talk to, and courteous would be scored high on the big five test.

The sensitivity aspect is understanding group members as individuals. Even though a majority of people in a department are black or Muslim, they are not all the same. This insensitivity can derail a leader or organization.

According to the Big Five Personality Test results, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to work well with others utilizing the following:

  1. Self-awareness: Emotions and how they affect one’s personal life
  2. Social awareness: The ability to understand others
  3. Self-management: Controlling all of those inner impulses, rants, fits, and bouts of anger that surface emotionally.
  4. Relationship-management: While working well with other, displaying an ability to harmonize self-awareness, social awareness, and self-management.

3. Adjustment

Adjustment includes traits of emotional stability and self-confidence.

Emotional stability is one’s ability to consistently remain in control of their emotions. There will be those who perform well under pressure and those that respond abysmally. How emotionally stable a leader is can be referenced in how they manage their emotional stability.

Self-confidence is one’s effort to control the continuum from strong to weak. Those moments of error as a leader and how they own up to their mistakes, take ownership and move forward. Having an accurate reference point for our own weaknesses and strengths allow us to continually improve.

4. Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is comprised of the traits dependability and integrity.

This was one of my three strongest traits, referenced in my big five personality test results.

Dependability is how a leader, manager, or employee balances being responsible/dependable or irresponsible/undependable. There are life and professional factors that an individual makes decisions within at all times.

Conscientiousness is how someone can have a continuum where they show up on time, get the job done, and execute quality work over and over again.

Integrity is being honest and ethical. Ones decision not to be can be a shortcut to how trustworthy an individual is. To be successful and profitable, leaders need integrity.

5. Openness

Openness includes characteristics of flexibility, intelligence and internal locusts of control.

Flexibility is one’s ability to adjust to the chaos and different situations within a workplace or life. People who are not flexible will struggle to succeed or adjust to change.

Intelligence is someone’s ability to think strategically, critically, to solve problems and make decisions.

Locus of Control is the inner mentality that an individual relies on as an internal compass. It is the inner beliefs that take control over one’s life destiny.

Externalizers believe they have no control of their lives beyond what they are fated to.

Internalizers believe that they have control over their fate, life, and destiny. They understand how their day to day behavior leads to their long-term performance.

Take the Big Five Personality Test or the Myers Briggs Personality Test.


Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., Rawsthorne, L. J., & Ilardi, B. (1997). Trait self and true self: Cross-role variation in the Big-Five personality traits and its relations with psychological authenticity and subjective well-being. Journal of personality and social psychology73(6), 1380.

5 Ways Your Boss Exploits Business Ethics

5 Ways Your Boss Exploits Business Ethics

Business Ethics

Do business ethics matter, or is it true that profits are all that matters in business?

How do you handle a corporate culture where the leader or manager in charge sets a bad example?

What are the ways business ethics are manipulated by poor leadership?

  1. A Higher Purpose: A person who rationalizes their poor behavior by referencing a higher purpose or organizational mission. Ex. Lie, Cheat, Steal, then saying its good for the organization. Or being forced by your manager to do something you know is wrong.
  2. Displacement of Responsibility: The process of blaming one’s unethical behavior on others. Ex. “My boss told me to fudge the numbers.”
  3. Advantageous Comparison: Comparing oneself to others who are worse. Ex. “I call in once a year. John calls in sick once a month.”
  4. Distortion of Consequences: Minimize the harm caused by the unethical behavior. Ex. “If I inflate the figures, no one will know, no one will get hurt, and I probably will not get caught”
  5. Euphamistic Labeling: Use cosmetic words to make behavior sound acceptable. Ex. “terrorists” sounds bad, but “freedom fighter” sounds noble.

What are the top 5 reasons why executives, corporations, and managers get derailed practicing poor business ethics?

  1. Intimidating: Being unapproachable only means that you will miss out on feedback that will guard a business leaders blind spot. Bullying is also a relied upon a style of management that leads to poor performance and low self-esteem or confidence within employees.
  2. Arrogant: Every one of us has been led by an arrogant manager or leader. When serving in the Marine Corps, there were plenty of arrogant officers or higher ranking enlisted members, who paraded around as if they were God’s gift to the United States Marine Corps. The leaders who choose to be cold and cocky can still succeed, but the people they lead will suffer from lower morale.
  3. Betray Trust: The fastest way to violate someone’s trust or reliance on a persons consistent and honorable behavior is through not being loyal. People in office spaces (or anywhere) love to gossip. Living in New York, I’ve learned that people love to ease drop. It’s easier than you think to betray someone’s trust when something is being said, that should be spoken, and someone who should not be involved overhears a conversation.
  4. Overly Ambitious & Thinking About the Next Job: The type of leader who is an opportunist and looking to take advantage of anything. A self-centered leader cannot effectively lead or take care of others. It is nearly impossible to strategize with one foot out the door.
  5. Over Manage & Fail to Delegate: Working for a business leader who does not trust that an employee knows what they are doing. Or the manager who does not properly plan, organize, staff, lead, and control their department.

6 Important Factors of Business Leadership Skills

business leadership

Business Leadership

These are the fundamental business leadership skills that most leaders use to successfully lead an organization.

The primary purpose of business leadership is to influence someone towards doing what they may or may not want to do.

Technical Business Leadership Skills

Technical leadership skills refer to a leaders experience and education proving them a 100% understanding of what their employees are doing. They need to know as much about a job or task they are having someone else execute. The focus of technical leadership is to ensure the job is being conducted in an efficient, accurate, and quality manner.

Conceptual Leadership Skills

Conceptual leadership skills are where a leader hones their problem-solving skills. It is through developing conceptual leadership skills that will allow a manager to make decisions, gather appropriate data, peruse options to finally choose an objective to act upon.

Human Communication Skills

COmmunication skills access a leaders ability to read, write, and articulate themselves. Non-verbal communication becomes important since people and employees are always observing and making judgments. The leader who can accept this ongoing scrutiny and use it to influence others will find it works to their advantage when sending their message to their employees.

Motivational “Inspirational” Skills

A leader’s motivational skills will display their ability to inspire themselves and their employees. Knowing what gets you up early allows you to be the self-aware leader who gets to know and understand each individual employee and what motivates or inspires them. Knowing how to motivate someone else does not have to be a guessing game. Asking questions, being curious, and truly caring about those who are under the command of a leader will allow them to motivate people in active and passive ways.

Emotional Leadership Skills

The emotional intelligence of a leader is paramount. A leader who is aware of their own feelings and the feelings of others will always have the advantage. Understanding a group or individual emotionally prevents or mitigates drops in performance and morale of a leaders employees.

A leader with low emotional intelligence will compare and contrast irrelevant abstract ideas and concepts.

A leader with high emotional intelligence will control their emotions when angry or upset, while also exhibiting an ability to control the feelings or emotions of others.

Destructive Emotions in Business

Anger is the worst professional emotion to express because it shows that you cannot control your emotions.

Crying is acceptable in the workplace but comes with the professional stigma because crying is perceived as a weakness.  If someone is crying, as a leader, let them cry before trying to speak with them. They will not hear you due to being emotionally charged. Reproach them once they have calmed down.

When you are overwhelmed or emotionally charged as a leader, pause, then re-evaluate.