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Leadership and the One Minute Manager:
Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership

by Ken Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi
William Morrow, 112 pages, $13.60

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Leadership styles vary as much as individuals and anyone in a managerial position will take something away from this brief, informative book. Blanchard explores what he terms “situational leadership” – that is, leadership that is able to adapt according to which style will be the most effective. It covers the four basic leadership styles of directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating, and reiterates one of Blanchard’s key ideas: to get the most out of employees, you do not manage them all identically.

Leadership’s content consists of conversations between "the entrepreneur," the "one minute manager," and manager’s subordinates. It gives examples of various work situations and how the one minute manager can effectively tackle them. The secret lies in assessing which style will address an instance best. Blanchard believes that when managers under-supervise they frustrate themselves and when they over-supervise, they frustrate others. According to the book, becoming a situational leader entails:

1. Beginning with goals that are clear to the manager and the people who will help accomplish them.

2. Working with people to ascertain their "competence" and "commitment" to accomplishing those goals.

3. Agreeing with every individual on each of the tasks and selecting together which leadership style will likely be most effective.

4. Following through to provide the agreed-upon leadership style until there’s enough progress or lack of progress warrants altering the leadership style.

Managers are encouraged to determine the readiness level of each team member and to get in sync with different development levels. Leadership asserts that focusing on weakness and failure fosters a lower level of productivity, and produces unsatisfied employees. Instead of zeroing in on people’s failures, Blanchard encourages managers to alter their mindset to look for people as potential heroes. Add this handy leadership tool to your toolbox and it will help you build your team into something greater than the sum of its individual parts.

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