Business & Economy

Wednesday, 18 March 2020 11:40

7 Habits of highly effective people and communication

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7 Habits of highly effective people and communication

7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Communication –
Barbara Lombard, Executive Director at 21st Century shares what habit has influenced her life!

“From when I was 20something, I was introduced to the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People written by Stephen R. Covey. I quite enjoy working with them and to some extent managed to internalise some more than others. In this article I share one habit that has influenced my life as a leader.

“The fifth habit: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, is my absolute favourite and I use it more often than any other. I give lots of examples about it especially when I find myself confronted by a challenging situation or presented by awkward circumstances. In his book, Stephen R. Covey uses an example of a father who was in a train in New York with his small children. If you are familiar with the New York culture, you will know that people in public keep to themselves, do not make any eye contact and private space is highly respected or regarded. It was a train that had much more mature and possibly corporate/working people going home after a rough busy day! This gentleman’s children were running around, making noise and as you can imagine ‘disturbing everyone’s peace’ after a long day at work.

“After a while, one passenger turned around and said to him, “your children are making such a noise, disturbing everyone and you are sitting there doing nothing, are you going to do something about it?”
“He lifted his head, seemed to be coming out of some ‘dreamland’, he apologised and said – “For sure, I should be doing something about it…… it is just that we have come back from a hospital, and their mother has just died….”
“This other passenger felt so bad and did not know what and how to apologise to him for being insensitive and coming to conclusions without understanding his current situation.
“Lessons learned: -

  • Don’t rush into conclusions without knowing where the other person comes from
  • Listen with empathy
  • We are socialised to resolve problems and it has become our first way of resolving issues, often without a proper diagnosis
  • Check how a person feels and why they respond or not respond in a way you are used to
  • Listening is a skill that very few of us have – listen more and talk less
  • Once you understand the root cause, it is easier to tackle the issue constructively
  • Ask before you conclude
  • Giving and receiving feedback is a skill
  • Manage ‘Blind Spots’ for self and others
  • Read more between the lines than on the line, and many more

“In communication and working in diverse environments and cultures, this habit comes in handy and assists in managing our limiting beliefs about other people and particularly customers. It makes one realise that we all see the World from different angles and our interpretation of what we see is also different and not necessarily the ‘correct’ or only one.

Barbara Lebogang Lombard
Executive Director, 21st Century

About 21st Century
21st Century is a specialist Remuneration, Organisation Development and Change Management consultancy, with over 1700 clients nationally and internationally. Our 60 in-house specialists are committed to staying future-focused and in the know about industry trends.

21st Century has proudly maintained a B-BBEE level 2 rating since 2015. Our sustainable Remuneration solutions are based on an audited salary survey database and established web-based Remuneration Systems and Remuneration training courses.

-- ENDS --

Issued By: The Lime Envelope
On Behalf Of: 21st Century
For Media Information: Bronwyn Levy
Telephone: 011 467 9233
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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