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Being Proactive as a leader in times of Chaos – Stephen Covey Circles of Influence

In these extraordinary times I am reminded of Stephen Covey's "Circle of Influence" model which I use regularly when doing team coaching, 1 – 1 coaching and leadership workshops on influence.

Covey talks about being “proactive rather than reactive”. Stephen Covey defines proactive as “being responsible for our own lives…..our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions”. In a nutshell, controlling what you can control and influencing where you can.

When you are thinking about the current situation you are in whether this is re #Coronavirus or other factors in the changing conditions, ask yourself where your specific concern lies.


An aspect which is out of your control e.g. a governments' response, the children being off school, will we have to go into lockdown, the work situation, the shopping habits of other people, the economy, the weather as examples?

Covey then says once you have noted all your concerns, are they something you can influence?

A Circle of Influence encompasses those concerns that we can do something about. They are concerns that we have some control over e.g. the welfare of your close family, the location of your work or how you do your work (if you have a job where this is possible), being a role model to others, keeping optimistic, offering support for members of your team, friends and the community?



Understanding the things which are within your control mean you can be more proactive and focus your energy on the specific actions you can control for example: taking care of your own health, choosing to stay home and self isolate, thinking of the different options for remote working, having an optimistic attitude, managing your own mental health, choosing to be a role model, using the NHS in a safe and responsible manner, staying occupied, supporting food banks or other charities, providing help for those who are struggling, meet with your friends and family virtually, take in some fresh air if you have a garden etc.

Using positive energy in our thinking, wellbeing and controlling what we can, is important for our resilience. Please think carefully where you choose to spend your energy. Focus on what makes a positive difference and being proactive has such positive energy.

Jackie Barringer