Book Review: Leadership and The One Minute Manager

How many times have you found yourself looking for a quick read when you just have a little time available?  This afternoon, I picked up Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness through Situational Leadership by Ken Blanchard and read it cover to cover in right at 30 minutes.  This book was one of the required texts for my husband’s Executive MBA program.  As a high school principal, I can say that this book is a great read for anyone involved in education.  There are direct correlations between situational leadership and the idea of reaching students with differing learning styles.

On the front of the book is a symbol that shows the one minute readout from the face of a digital watch.  This is intended to remind leaders to take a minute out of each day to look into the faces of the people we manage.  That is how we will realize that they are our most important resources.

Here are some notes I want to remember from this book…

  • Blanchard identifies four basic leadership styles: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating.
  • Directing: The leader provides specific direction and closely monitors task accomplishment.
  • Coaching: The leader continues to direct and closely monitor task accomplishment, but also explains decisions, solicits suggestions, and supports progress.
  • Supporting: The leader facilitates and supports people’s efforts towards task accomplishment and shares responsibility for decision-making with them.
  • Delegating: The leader turns over responsibility for decision-making and problem-solving to people.
  • Leadership style is how you behave when you are trying to influence the performance of someone else.  It is a combination of directive and supportive behaviors.
  • Directive Behavior: Involves clearly telling people what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and then closely monitoring their performance.
  • Supportive Behavior: Involves listening to people, providing support and encouragement for their efforts, and then facilitating their involvement in problem-solving and decision-making.
  • There is a direct correlation between the 4 leadership styles and the balance between directive and supportive behavior depending on the situation.
  • Blanchard lists goals, “praisings”, and reprimands as the three secrets of one minute management that make situational leadership a dynamic model.
  • Goals start performances in the right direction and permit a manager to analyze a person’s competence and commitment (development level) to perform well.
  • “Praisings” foster improvements in the development level of individuals and permit a manager to gradually change his/her leadership style from more direction (directing) to less direction and more support (coaching and supporting) to less direction and more support (delegating).
  • Situational leadership is not something you do to people, but something you do with people.
There are lots of good leadership nuggets in this book.  I wasn’t asked to endorse this book, but I would encourage you to pick up a copy here.

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