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Running header - REFLECTIONS ON THE SEVEN HABITS PROFILE 1

Reflection on the Seven Habits Profile

Shane D. Malin

Western Governors University


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Reflection on the Seven Habits Profile

Within the Seven Habits Profile I graded out fairly highly in each assessment

group. Category one was the ‘Emotional Bank Account’ section, and I scored a 16 out

of 18. This shows I would be able to maintain a level or professionalism fitting for a

leader in the workforce. Scoring highly in the three statements showed I would be

able to show each person kindness, keep promises and commitments, and refrain from

speaking negatively of others. Showing kindness can be something that earns

everlasting trust and respect from an employee, and can be remembered about an

employer long after they have retired or moved onto another position. Keeping

promises and commitments aligns with quality work and avoiding disappointment

from your staff. Refraining from speaking negatively about others allows you to keep

from making hurtful statement that impact not only the relationship with that

employee, but also from damaging the trust that is needed from the rest of the staff. If

someone is being talked about behind their back, it is highly unlikely that they would

be the only one receiving that treatment.

The second category shows that I could use some improvement but still showed

sufficient ability to do several other tasks. I need to improve my work/life balance, but

have been able to do so more than well enough to keep healthy and functioning
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relationships. I revolve the day around my kids and family, work, then try to fit in

time for other relationships and hobbies. While I have been able to get time to see

other adults, it is about a weekly event and is often tied to the family still. An example

would be getting to have a family friend or two over, but they come to my house

while I grill food and we all watch a sporting event. I am able to keep in mind the

people I am working for and their concerns. This shows a level of professionalism as

there will be times where I will need to vary the normal task to better fit a customer or

certain request. My biggest issue is that when I get involved in a task, I often result in

burnout due to repetition and lack of fulfillment (Reuban, 2018). This may be in large

part due to the manner of work I have done for the last several years, I was appointed

to do one specific job with little variance, a constant negative attitude from senior

management, and often had fairly unrealistic goals and guidelines to meet. These

usually resulted in stressful days and mandatory overtimes as my group was woefully

understaffed. Now that I have moved to a primarily supervisory role, there is far more

variance to my daily tasks and I have not become stale with my work at all. I am

proactive, as I generally feel I have control over what happens in my own life. If there

is something out of my control, I will see if there is a way to change that so I can

better manage it. If unable to do so though I will move on and focus on what I can do.

Something I find very important is accepting my own shortcomings. It is imperative

not to blame others or play a victim when something negative happens. Doing so has

no benefits to speak of, it only shows immaturity and a significant weakness as a

leader.

I have a rough idea of an end goal in mind for most of what I do - from education,

professional, and even smaller tasks. I feel you might have to adapt to unexpected

situations and in many long-term goal there will be potential for growth or change, so
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having a very exact end-goal is fine but often will adapt in time. For projects, having a

deadline allows you to schedule time to work on it and meet the deadlines. That

schedule often goes into a weekly and even daily time allotments for the work to be

done. This also helps to avoid procrastination, which also allows the deadlines to be

met in a timely manner. I do find that much of my time is set in allowing things to be

covered and paid for today, rather than long term goals to be worked toward. That

admittedly can make aspects of the day seem tedious and somewhat annoying.

An important part of leadership is not only personal success, but also the success

of those around and under them. One of the greatest measures of success is the

success of those following you, who learned from you. To do this there must be a

level of trust between them, and allows a better chance at success for all. If they trust

you and yo can trust them, you can cooperate to do substantially better work than

alone. To do this there will have to be work done to benefit all involved, as there will

likely be issues arising if one individual is being put in poor positions from collective

choices. This would allow them to feel they communicate with you if there is any

input they have, they will work harder and be more creative in their input if they feel

respected and valued. Knowing they are valued they would be willing to give input,

and it is best to be ready to receive it as well. Searching for creative solution is

important, it may be a slight alteration of a generally accepted method or something

completely different. A leader must know the value of his team and the ideas they

offer.

Evaluate at least three strengths you demonstrate as a leader

From experience I find that I have several traits that lead to the transactional

leadership style. At the end of the day I am the one who is tasked with managing the
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groups performance, so I will also need to be the one making the final decisions. I do

prefer to reward the workers who excel, and at first I will make sure they are able to

proficiently do their job before I give more freedom and leeway. These are classic

traits for transactional leaders, though I do not fit in the mold perfectly by any means

(Saravo, 2017). This is evidenced by my allowance for creativity from those working

under me, that is generally against this leadership theory. But again I do follow that

approach until they prove they can do the job appropriately and they understand the

limitations for what they can do, then they are rewarded with the freedom of their own

variance. The fact this is a reward, makes it fit this theory much more closely.

One of the strengths in this style is that I am very assertive, so when we were

thrown a surprise project or deadline that did not let us have time to discuss and

delegate portions of the project I was able to quickly dictate what was needed I am

used to deciding what needs done and most transactional leaders are able to quickly

and simply determine the course of action for the team. Aside from being able to

quickly decide course of actions, transactional leaders are often very set in being task

oriented (Saravo, 2017). This is a major strength in reviewing a team member’s

performance or explaining metrics to them. Having so much of my focus being on the

end goal, I would be very detailed and knowledgeable of the desires I have and

metrics I would be grading them by. This offers a consistency that many team

members or employees would be very happy to have.

Another strength to my style is that there is a high level of efficiency. I put people

in the spots that they do the best in, and slowly have them do other things that help

elevate their weaknesses. In time they become very well rounded, but their

development is not done in a manner that is detrimental to the team in any way. While

anyone new to the team is watched closely by me, they understand it is just until they
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get comfortable and very competent in the position they are doing. They know that

when they have had time in and are doing good and timely work, they will be given

more freedom, and that is the exact same process that each member within the team

has done. It is important to know that it is very clear that any questions are open to be

asked and we are to help each other. I fully believe asking a question and getting

assistance might slow one person for a minute or two, but that is far more efficient

than correcting errors and then the following errors that result from using erroneous

data. Being realistic about the team’s strengths and weaknesses, I am also very

capable of setting goals for us that are reasonable even if the requests given to us

might not be. While we are often multitasking, being realistic and being able to

prioritize allows the team to be very productive.

Finally the transactional style has allowed me to build a very motivated team. I

reward them within the group to keep them motivated (Kahn, 2017). I have given

certain team members recommendations when they were trying to promote up, even if

them leaving was going to be very detrimental to the team in the short-term. When

that individual was promoted I did not interview interested individuals, I offered it

directly to the most deserving person. This sometimes resulted in numerous people

stepping up a step before I interviewed new individuals to join us. While this could

make people complacent if they thought that time in service was a major factor, I am

not concerned with their time under me or with the company. I have skipped

individuals in that chain promotion, and have had one person skip three others to

above her to take on a much larger role. It was not an insult or disrespectful, that

individual just did exemplary work and her skill-set best fit the newly vacated role.

This is what keeps everyone very motivated day in and day out (Hamstra, 2014), as
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my team often has a high turnover due to promotions or lateral moves that would

further reinforce their resumes.

Evaluate at least three weaknesses you demonstrate as a leader

There are also weaknesses that may be attached to the transactional style (Saravo,

2017). I do a lot of work with new hires in my team, which the organization does not

require me to do. So this extra attention is on top of my current duties, and with a high

turnover rate I am often taking on a very heavy workload on top of an already

demanding position. At least 6-7 months of the year are involved with working with

the newest members of the team, though admittedly the first two months is the

heaviest additional workload as it tapers down. This could quickly have resulted in

burnout each time, so the self-imposed stresses are a weakness to be considered. This

could potentially lead to a drop in performance, friction within the team if I am

frustrated with something involving work, or even lower morale for the rest of the

team.

While the method is very efficient, it can also be a limiting factor for us as well.

When I have someone new under me for the first 2-3 months, they are learning the

systems, work details, and flows for different goals to be met. Occasionally they will

have ideas they want to put forward on how to better run a system, or how to

streamline a process that we use. If this was prompted by a veteran in the team I might

allow them to try their idea for a week and compare the results from the different

approaches, but I don’t with the new additions to the team. My reasoning is that I am

spending a great deal of time assisting them and showing them how to do the job

properly, so I may have no idea on the potential successes or failures to come of the

new idea. This may mean I saved both of us substantial time from being wasted, there
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have been times the new hires had great ideas but I was too reluctant to try them until

they had already been in the job on their own for a month or so.

While motivation is usually a positive, I have found that it does have many

people that respond poorly to it. Some people prefer other means of motivation, and

my rather simplistic approach might seem too rigid and conformist for some. I have

had a few who wanted praise for meeting expectations, which is not something I do. I

feel they are being paid and are trying to better themselves within the company, they

should be able to at least meet expectations that I give them. If they are doing

exemplary work or go over and beyond my requests I will give praise, but they must

do more than the minimum to get that. Occasionally that is viewed as a negative by

team members, so that is a weakness of note.

Recommend three theory-based changes that you could make to maximize

your success

I still believe that improving weaknesses are vital to improving overall

performance. As such there are three practices I could use that may allow me to better

my performance. Balancing my own workload could make the job much better for me,

and would allow me to have a far more manageable load to handle. If allowed to hire

one more individual to the team, I may be able to train them up, while having an

individual shadow me so they see the responsibilities I am giving them first hand

(Hamstra, 2014). This would allow me to share a workload while giving them more

responsibility and something else to add to their list while applying for any further

promotions. It would also help reduce burnout chances for me, and aid me in enjoying

the job (Reuban, 2018).


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To take a chance on becoming even more efficient, I should also find a way to get

other team members’ views on the ideas new members put forth. We do scheduled

huddles at least bi-weekly in even the busiest times of the year, so this would be a

chance to present the ideas to the team. If someone felt it was a good one, I could

assign them to use the idea for a week to see if it was benefiting them, unless after a

day or two it was clearly counterproductive to the goals. If that was the case they

could abandon it and go back to their usual productivity when they felt the idea was

going to fail. If it was successful we could then implement it 2-3 months earlier than

usual, boosting productivity earlier than we otherwise would have. This entire process

would not only give us multiple experienced members’ opinions and views on the

idea, but allow us to try it with someone who already is very proficient with the

current flow. That would be a much better test of the new approach as opposed to a

new team member just doing something similar to what they might have done in a

previous position.

Discuss two short-term SMART goals that will help improve your leadership

practice

I will decide on two SMART goals - better create transparency within our group

and delegate work better. Specifically I can train the three senior members of the team

to see some of the training duties I do and how I improve their performance. This is

also going to directly lead to delegating work better, as they will assist intermittently

assist me in this role for the next two hires. From then on they will share the load and

I will oversee their notes and offer input when needed, significantly reducing my

workload and spreading it out to three individuals who are nearing a chance for

advancement. Each of them should be able to have 1 hour of assisting me three times

per week, in the beginning. That would allow them to get 6 hours of hands-on work
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per week, and give me assistance with the new hire and oversight on their own

understanding a total of 18 hours per week. That is going to allow me a much better

workload, and as they are rotating it will not detract from the team as a whole either.

After a month they may take on the training and I will simply be present for the 18

hours, in case they come up with a situation that needs assistance.

The new hires will still need a great deal of assistance, and this is a new task for

them as well. They have become very adept in their roles, but having them do more

than simply answering a question is going to be new and challenging for them. So this

will likely take 2 or 3 new hires before I allow them to just do the training in any way

without me being present, likely with me creating a “syllabus” of sorts to make sure

every aspect I want taught is indeed instructed appropriately. But after the first hire

they would likely only have my full assistance for the first week while they instructed

the new hire, if not less. After two or three new hires I would hand these duties over

to them entirely, which means if one of them is promoted then they can help me train

that person’s replacement or one of them can step into my role if I would be promoted

or moved to a new division. Completing this time in training and time they are

training new hires is vital to their proficiency in these roles (Hamstra, 2014). While

this is a group with a high level of turnover there is a great deal of fluctuation in

people coming in and out, so going by just a timeline of a month or six month period

is likely an inefficient time. A better measure of “time” would be for them to have a

review on their proficiency after each new hire was moved to their role full-time, and

expect them to be able to completely introduce any new hires after the second new

member of the team is completely self-sufficient.

This allows me two courses of action that directly assist in the goals. I spread

work to the senior team members who have a very proven track record under me, and
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in doing so they now have complete transparency within the role I fill. They become

proficient to protect the division in case one of them moves on or I move on to

another role, as it is near impossible for all four of us to move out in the same

time-frame without simply dissolving the unit completely.

Citations

Hamstra, M., Van Yperen, N., Wisse, B., & Sassenberg, K. (2014). Transformational

and Transactional Leadership and Followers' Achievement Goals. Journal Of

Business & Psychology, 29(3), 413-425.

Khan, N. (2017). Adaptive or Transactional Leadership in Current Higher

Education: A Brief Comparison. International Review Of Research In Open

& Distance Learning, 18(3), 178-183.

Reuben, D. B., & Sinsky, C. A. (2018). From Transactional Tasks to Personalized

Care: A New Vision of Physicians' Roles. Annals Of Family Medicine, 16(2),

168-169. doi:10.1370/afm.2203
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Saravo, B., Netzel, J., & Kiesewetter, J. (2017). The need for strong clinical leaders

– Transformational and transactional leadership as a framework for resident

leadership training. Plos ONE, 12(8), 1-13.

doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0183019