Last week, Dr. Covey did an interview for a leading newspaper in Brazil. Not surprisingly, the topic of the interview was the global financial crisis and the concerns of these uncertain times. When asked to comment about this historic financial meltdown Dr. Covey first stated: “This is a time of great crisis. Crisis creates humility–pain humbles people.” Because of this, he explained, people often become more open and teachable.
Dr. Covey is planning a visit to Brazil in a few weeks where he will teach principles of effective leadership. He expects that business leaders in the audience will be especially attentive to the message for developing principle-centered leadership in a global marketplace where conditions are changing and creating new challenges. Of course, with new challenges comes new opportunities. Whether in good times or bad times, the key to great leadership is understanding moral authority versus formal authority. A leader’s role is to communicate the worth and potential of individuals so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves–to help them unleash their potential and respect people as an organization’s greatest asset rather than seeing them as an expense. Moral authority comes from being centered on principles, which are universal and timeless. Principles such as, fairness, trust, integrity, compassion, honesty are central to enduring leadership–both at work, at home, or in the community.
In reflecting on Dr. Covey’s words, I think Dr. Covey would challenge each of us to humble ourselves–to seek for more understanding, openness, synergy, learning, purpose, and self-reflection. Each of us is a leader–either in our roles at work, at home or in our individual, personal lives. Are we humble enough to center our lives on principles? Are we willing to learn the lessons that are before us and change our lives based on universal principles that are sure to create stability and sustainability for us, even in turbulent times? Now is the time to humble ourselves, make profound changes and take full advantage of the opportunities that come from of crises.
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