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Moving On... Applying The One Minute Principles

May 2004

Moving On…To Applying The One Minute Principles

“People who feel good about themselves — produce good results”

I’m sure most of you have read the One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Ken Blanchard later co-authored another book entitled Leadership and the One- Minute Manager, in which he talks about the 5 leadership styles and in particular Situational Leadership. What I realized after reading the later is that I am very much a Situational Leader. Just like coaching, it is such a part of who I am, that I don’t always think through the processes and certainly didn’t give it a name.

In review, the One-Minute Principles are to manage by:

  • Having your people set one Minute Goals (write 1 goal on 1 sheet in 1 minute) — when any part of the goal is achieved you move on to

  • Giving One Minute Praisings -if goals are not achieved, you move on to:

  • Giving One Minute Reprimands

Most importantly is for the manager to behave like a one-minute manager, that is: ask brief yet important questions; speak the simple truth, laugh, work and enjoy life, your work, and your people. And above all else, encourage the people you work with to do the same.

So how does this tie in with Leadership? Leadership Style is how you behave when you’re trying to influence the performance of others. All of us have potential, us personally as well those we manage or lead. But how do you lead or manage individuals in the way that is best suited for them. Best suited so that it brings out their full potential and moves them to a place of peak performance?

According to Blanchard, there are 5 leadership styles:

  1. Directive - where the leader makes the decisions and the employees carry them out. The leader provides structure, organization, teaches and supervises. Great for the enthusiastic beginners and those who have more enthusiasm than knowledge or know-how.

  2. Supportive — leader asks the questions, expands their thinking, and encourages them to take risks. Good for those who have good ideas but are reluctant to take them on. Needs encouragement to test the waters.

  3. Coaching — combines 1 & 2 by identifying the problem, asking for suggestions, expands, encourages and assists in the final decision. Good for the disillusioned learners or those to begin to lose interest because the challenge is tougher than expected. Once one loses commitment, providing direction may not be enough (directive style) you may need to provide encouragement (supportive style). Remember people need recognition and genuine praise.

  4. Delegating — appropriate for self-reliant achievers; people who are committed and competent. They don’t need much direction and can provide their own support. Top performers don’t need much supervision or praise as long as they know how well they’re doing.

  5. Situational — the leader who works comfortably with 3 skills: flexibility, diagnosis and partnering. This is the leader who can move easily between the 4 above after diagnosing the situation, and deciding which of the following is appropriate:

  • Tell them what to do (make sure the goals and directions are clear)

  • Show them what to do

  • Let them try

  • Observe their performance

  • Praise their progress

As a person’s skill, motivation, commitment, confidence, or competence changes, the style of leadership required will change as well. This is what a Situational Leader does. Situational leadership is not something you do to people; it’s something you do with people.

Which style to use? Another reason to use the ‘focused flexibility’ we talked about in the March issue, Embracing the Unknown: Moving On to Focused Flexibility*; as the saying goes: “different strokes for different folks”. If you want your people to progress and you want to be a good leader, be focused enough to know which style to use with whom and when.

I find in my coaching business, each person may need a different style in any one day. And as they progress, the style I use will change. We may move between the various styles many times during our coach/client relationship, depending on the stage of the challenge or opportunity.

Remember to be flexible, to connect with genuine interest with your people and to catch them doing things right and be sure to stop the progress long enough to celebrate!

* The March issue can be found at:

Dial in to 702-255-3676 on June 2 at noon pacific/ 3 eastern time when Judy will be discussing on ‘The NEW Retirement’.

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