What’s Old Becomes New! The NEW Leadership and the One Minute Manager

For many of us who love to read and study the topic of leadership, one book that is in almost everyone’s library (or should I say iPad now) is the book “Leadership and the One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersy. First published in the 1970’s, it introduced us to the revolutionary idea of situational leadership. Over the past nearly 50 years the content in the book has stood the test of time because the concept of situational leadership works. So why mess with perfection? Well, that’s a question that I’m sure Blanchard will talk about when he comes to Iowa for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry annual conference. (By the way, if you’re interested, give us a call at ATW and we’ll share the information on how you can see Ken Blanchard speak on June 11th in Davenport.)

Blanchard and his team released a new version of the book in 2013. They didn’t just update subtle areas, they actually redefined the three skills of a situational leader. In the original book the first skill was Diagnosis – what is the developmental level of the person you are leading in reference to the goal or task you are asking them to accomplish.  The second skill was Flexibility. Flexibility refers to the leader’s ability to flex and be comfortable using different leadership styles. The final skill was Partnering for Performance, where the manager partners with the person they are leading to focus on what they as a leader can do to make the employee successful. Again, these three skills have provided a solid foundation for leaders for nearly 50 years.

So what changed in this new version?  In talking with Blanchard he commented, “We always felt a very important skill was missed up front, goal setting.” So in the new Leadership in the One Minute Manager the three skills have become Setting SMART Goals, Diagnosis, and Matching. As you can see, Diagnosis continues to be a strong skill needed but it is now preceded by making sure the person you are leading has a clearly articulated and mutually understood goal.  Makes sense. How can you diagnose a person’s developmental level without a clear goal/expectation to reference? And the new third skill set, Matching, basically combines Flexibility and Partnering for Performance.

Having just spent some time reviewing these new concepts I’m excited for another 50 years of sharing these concepts and unleashing the potential of leaders. Of course that would make me 100 years old but hey, it’s a clearly articulated goal. Now can someone diagnose what I need to do to make it happen?

Check in for next week’s blog and we’ll talk further about a new twist on SMART goals!



Managers Developing Unconscious Competence

Uninterrupted think time is awesome! The only problem is we just don’t get enough of it. As I write this blog I’m somewhere between Atlanta and Guadalajara and just finished reviewing some of the content for our upcoming Manager Boot Camp. I continue to “wow” myself with the obvious when I actually get the thinking time I just referenced. My latest “wow” is that when it comes right down to it, there isn’t much new to be said about being a great manager. Hire the right people. Set clear expectations. Provide the tools and resources necessary to do their job.  Provide ongoing coaching and feedback. Formally appraise performance. And then reset…new expectations, new tools and resources, etc.

Great managers don’t have to think about it. They’ve mastered their skills. They’ve progressed through what we call the four levels of competence.

Level 1: Unconscious Incompetence. This is the level where managers don’t even know what they don’t know. They are “unconscious” to their “incompetence”. Good managers will figure out what they don’t know and progress to the next level.

Level 2: Conscious Incompetence. At this level, managers have identified the skill sets they need to work on and begin to work on themselves because they know that before they can be truly successful working on others they must first work on themselves.

Level 3: Conscious Competence. This is where managers start to have fun because they are starting to succeed. They are consciously doing the right things and developing partnerships with those they lead so they are having successes together.

Level 4: Unconscious Competence. Everyone strives to get here. This is the point where things just happen because they have become so ingrained in the manager. They don’t have to consciously think about what to do, they just do it.

So I leave you with a question to think about.

Where are you in your level of consciousness as a manager? And more importantly, what should you be doing about it?