Primary and Secondary Greatness
Quotes from the author:
“If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to be more motivated, to like me and each other—while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity and insincerity—then, in the long run, I cannot be successful. My duplicity will breed distrust, and everything I do—even using so-called good human relations techniques—will be perceived as manipulative. It simply makes no difference how good the rhetoric is or even how good the intentions are; if there is little or no trust, there is no foundation for permanent success. Only basic goodness gives life to technique.
Eventually, if there isn’t deep integrity and fundamental character strength, the challenges of life will cause true motives to surface and human relationship failure will replace short-term success.”
Covey hits on a very important aspect of why management at all levels fall short of the mark on sincerity and trust. The story of the employee that came to my office to complain about their supervisor is a telling one, and explains why managements’ behavior is repeated over and over again, year after year. This employee was complaining that their supervisor’s behavior created mistrust by being manipulative, insincere, demanding, secretive, and so on. My advice was not very helpful at the time, but it didn’t matter since shortly after this employee’s visit to my office she was promoted to a supervisor position. Shortly after her promotion one of HER employee’s came to my office and complained about HER. You see, this new supervisor was behaving in the same manner she complained about earlier with me. Moral of the story is new supervisors repeat the behavior they saw in their old supervisors, the good and the bad. Why? Because that’s the only way they know how to behave unless they diligently pursue what it takes to be “highly effective”.
Not all, but most of the companies I worked for saw leadership training as a waste of time, and if there was leadership training top management did not attend, and if they did the president/CEO paid lip service to the training, which meant “business as usual”. They remained aloof from accepting responsibility for encouraging leadership behavior and/or leading by example. I think they expected leadership “dust” to fall from the sky.
For those who believe in the kind of leadership Covey is talking about and the kind I believe in can and will happen for those who have the will and the desire to be steadfast in learning and understanding leadership. But remember, flawed character cannot make it work.