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Be, Do, Have Model: Guide to Leadership

Learn how to use the Be, Do, Have model to improve your team’s performance. Plus, see examples of the Be, Do, Have model in practice.

By Alexandria Hewko  •   February 7, 2023  •   7 min read

Leadership styles have significantly transformed and grown in importance over the last few decades. More and more frequently, employees are prioritizing workplaces where their peers and superiors are actively working to influence, empower, and efficiently make the best decisions for the success of the whole team. And we now notice the difference between “managing” and “leading” much more clearly. As we take a look at the Be, Do, Have model, we’ll see how leaders can shape their behaviors to make teams incredibly effective, generating a competitive advantage for any growing company. This is also a great model for any individual contributors who want to accelerate their careers and personal development!

What is the Be, Do, Have model?

Steven Covey introduced the Be, Do, Have model to the mainstream in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This model dates back to the book’s first publishing date in 1989, decades before the Great Resignation changed the way leaders approach hiring and empowering their teams. Yet, the lessons in the book have always remained useful for leaders to understand the importance of influencing teams rather than commanding teams into action.

The Be, Do, Have model is a variation of another popular leadership approach called the Have, Do, Be, model. In the latter, there is a traditional focus on having authority, goals, or resources first, to be able to do actions that will get the team to where it wants to be. In his own model, Steven pushes for being what’s needed for the team, which will then influence the people around to do an action, and then the leader will have greater authority or likelihood of reaching the goal. The Be, Do, Have model essentially aims for you to be the type of person or group that you need to be before you can work on the result that you want.

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How does the Be, Do, Have model work? 

1Be

The “be” part of the model is important for ensuring that you and your team are set up with the behaviors that you need to reach your goals. It’s important that these behaviors are built authentically—they should not be faked for the sake of earning the goal. If behaviors are not practiced authentically, teams are at risk of not being able to perform the “do” part of the model effectively.

How a leader acts will create a huge impact on how the team responds. For example, a leader who draws calm energy will be a lot more effective at helping a team navigate challenging times than a leader who is frantic under pressure. Similarly, a leader who is patient, data-driven, empathetic, and proactive can help peers identify what those traits look like in practice and behave in similar ways. 

2Do

The “do” part of this model represents the actions or steps that you or your team are taking to “have” your desired success. When you practice a behavior that is productive for your team, you can work on achieving your goals. For example, great planning skills (a quality of the “be” part of the model) can make it easier to stay on top of project deadlines. As another example, the most honest people will be the best at giving clear, constructive feedback, which helps with trust and efficiency as you work towards your goal.

Being a role model at all stages is very important. Ensure you’re brainstorming thoroughly, planning proactively, communicating frequently with your team, making use of meeting agendas, assigning action items, and holding accountability in retrospective meetings to make your processes more effective.

3Have

The “have” part of this model represents when you meet the final goal that you wanted to achieve from the start. For example, this could mean “earning a managerial position” or “completing a high-stakes client project.” Having the right mindset, practicing qualities of a great leader, and efficiently operating your projects will get you on the right track to having your desired end result. Through this model, you’re more likely to set yourself up for success to reach your goals faster and more effectively. 

Benefits of the Be, Do, Have model 

1Improves collaboration

The Be, Do, Have model encourages teams to work together. Some team characteristics such as the collective mindset can only be held by the common group; if one team member had a different mindset, it could throw the whole project off balance. Strong leaders should be able to help regulate the nervous systems of the wider team, bring team members together for progress meetings, and value the contributions of all members. This level of collaboration throughout the process will also lead to better alignment and trust.

2Fosters creativity 

There is no straightforward formula to success when it comes to being the “perfect leader” or the “perfect coworker.” To find the formula that works best for your team, or even for a specific one-to-one relationship, team members need space and trust to be creative and to experiment with new processes. Fostering a calm, creative, and psychologically safe environment can encourage team members to be a version of themselves that enables them to do more. 

3Strengthens work relationships

Setting goals together and being role models for healthy workplace and leadership habits makes teams feel united in their efforts to reach their goals. In turn, aligned teams are better at giving and receiving constructive feedback through employee feedback loops, which further increases qualities such as trust, efficiency, and feelings of purpose. As team members work towards becoming better versions of themselves, they become more capable of completing different tasks along their journey to the end goal.

Examples of the Be, Do, Have model in practice

1Signing a large client deal

High-performing salespeople need to be great communicators who are outgoing, great at negotiating, quick to identify an opportunity, and unafraid to promote their product. They also need to be trustworthy and good relationship builders, especially when working with sales accounts that have high values or many decision makers. If the goal is to close a large client deal, a salesperson will need to do actions along the sales process such as travelling long distances and attending busy networking events to meet with potential new accounts. Then, they will have to put in effort to build the relationship, locate the product need, and negotiate based on the specific requirements of the client. With the right skills and timing, they should eventually be able to land (have) a large sales deal in no time!

2Managing a high-performing team

Team managers need quite a lot of successful skills to effectively support a high-performing team. To connect with individual team members, a manager needs to be empathetic, transparent, and honest. To support the wider team, they need to be organized, data driven, ready to give and receive feedback, and able to delegate work. Then, some actions that managers do to have a high-performing team include checking in with team members regularly with one-on-ones and team meetings, providing opportunities for development, delegating tasks appropriate to skill level, scheduling and budgeting effectively, resolving problems, and consistently looking for optimization opportunities in processes. As a result, this manager should have team members that are informed, feel purposeful, and are aligned with the team’s goals.

3Striving for a promotion

Aiming for a promotion requires someone to be courageous, confident, and trusted by their superiors. If a position is not currently open, this person might also need to be creative and well-versed with negotiation tactics to prove to their manager that the promotion is deserved. To land the new role, there is some work to do well in advance, such as researching the requirements of the future role, working on projects that align with those skills, and collecting proof of this experience. Then, of course, to have a chance at the promotion, they’ll need to put in the request to their manager!

Parting advice

The Be, Do, Have model is not new. But in times when employees and organizations are prioritizing strong leadership skills, fast professional development growth, and proven willingness to take on new opportunities, there is no time like the present to start being the person that you want to become for your next career move. If you’re a leader looking to bring your team to the next level, this model can help remind you to be the role model of the qualities that your team should display while working your way to your goals 

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