This article is the fifth in a series of five blog posts from management expert, and Cydcor Chief People Officer, Jeannie Finkel. In this series, Jeannie recommends the Top Five Books she believes can help you transform your management style and become a better, more effective leader.
Managers, especially those leading a team for the first time, sometimes mistakenly believe that to be effective leaders, they must shape their team members’ work styles and thinking to their own. But Ken Blanchard, the author of Leadership & The One Minute Manager, is a proponent of and helped develop the concept of Situational Leadership, a leadership style in which leaders adjust their own style to meet the needs and development levels of those they manage. It focuses on flexibility, adaptability, and an awareness of the competencies and individual strengths of those on your team. Leaders who are versed in Situational Leadership come to understand that there is no single best or right way to lead, but that what’s important is using the right leadership approach for each team member.
Below Jeannie Finkel recommends the book Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard to managers and leaders as a tool to help them become more effective and capable of leading more productive teams.
Book #4 Leadership & The One Minute Manager
Author: Ken Blanchard
Short summary: Ken Blanchard is one of the best-known modern “Management Guru’s”, with a global management development consultancy and over 40 books published and millions of copies sold. One of the first and most famous is the One Minute Manager, followed by this one, which provides a simple framework to help managers use the techniques from the One Minute Manager to tailor their management styles to the unique situation and individuals they’re working with. As with many of Blanchard books, this one is written as a fable, with a fictional entrepreneur consulting the One Minute Manager for advice as she’s finding she’s unable to get everything done by herself but also unhappy with her team’s results. As the One Minute Manager sends her out to talk to people on his team, she discovers the various leadership styles an effective manager uses to work with people at all development levels. She learns what she needs to, to become a Situational Leader.
What you’ll learn: Without giving away this book’s great secrets, you’ll learn the key skills of a Situational Leader, which are: setting goals together to be sure you’re both on the same page; accurately diagnosing your team member’s development level on the particular goal or task (are they experienced or novice, for instance); and then matching your leadership style to the person’s development level. You’ll also learn the four key style choices leaders have to match with: Directing; Coaching; Supporting; and Delegating – and what sort of behaviors go with each. Throughout the book, you’ll find little phrases such as, “when I slow down I go faster” or “you can expect more if you inspect more,” which are also some of the “aha moments” the entrepreneur has as she goes through her learning journey with the various managers in the story. They are also illuminated as nuggets of management wisdom, wrapped around the core principles I just outlined.
Why it’s a must read: Every manager should learn and master Situational Leadership, preferably early on in their career. I personally learned it during my first two years of corporate life many years ago, and I use it to this day. Two of the biggest challenges first-time managers face are: time management and delegation. Situational Leadership helps address both. What I like best about it (besides the fact that it works) is that it’s collaborative. This is especially important even for seasoned managers who take on a new team. You won’t know right away what your new team members know or don’t know – but the simple act of asking someone what level of guidance they need from you, or how comfortable they feel with a project or task, immediately helps someone feel that you care about them and want them to be successful. Using Situational Leadership principles, to create a sense of partnership and ongoing, open communication with your team, stacks the deck in your favor as a manager!
While many management courses out there are pricey and inconvenient, you can get the same invaluable experience in these books for managers written by industry leaders. Read these other posts in this series to learn about other books every manager should have on his or her bookshelf: Encouraging the Heart, Leadership is an Art, The Elements of Style, and 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make and How You Can Avoid Them.
Jeannie Finkel, Chief People Officer at Cydcor, the recognized leader in outsourced sales, has more than twenty-five years of business experience, managing human resources and administration at top firms. Jeannie served for nearly twelve years as a Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Charles Schwab & Co. Jeannie was also Head of Human Resources and Administration for a leading asset management firm, and served as Managing Director, Talent Management Systems and Strategies for a Fortune 100 organization. Jeannie later became a Partner with leading global retained search firm, Heidrick & Struggles. With years of experience managing teams and overseeing organizations, Jeannie is a seasoned expert in management, administration, and leadership.