Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard: Book Review

I am a BIG fan of Dr. Ken Blanchard.  His books have really helped me become an effective leader and network marketer.  One of my favorite books by Dr. Blanchard is his book “Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership.”  The term situational leadership® is a phrase coined by Mr. Blanchard and it simply describes the process of leading different people differently. The concept is simple, yet profound.

I’ve read this book at least ten times in my life and have gifted at least 20 copies to students, friends and protégés to help them transform their leadership ability.  I easily give the book a 10 of 10 for its ease of understanding, applicability, and usefulness.  For any aspiring leader, this should be the FIRST leadership book you read.

The Main Point of the Book

The main point in this book is that you have to lead different people in different ways.  Everyone is different.  Trying to lead everyone the same way is a recipe for failure.  People have different skills and motivation levels and your job as a leader is to match your leadership style with each person you are leading.  In other words, using a standard “cookie cutter” leadership approach with everyone won’t work.

The Different Leadership Styles

In the book, Dr. Blanchard talks about four different leadership styles leaders should use.  I will give a brief explanation of each style and also share how to use each style effectively in your network marketing business.

# 1 Directing – This is when you tell the person exactly what they need to do and supervise them closely.  When it comes to network marketing, this leadership style is best used with someone who is brand new to the business and doesn’t know what to do or how to do it.  You give them specific tasks to do and you monitor them closely until they get the gist of it, and can do some things on their own.

# 2 Coaching – In this leadership style, you are still directing a person what to do, but you are also working closely with them and explaining decisions, asking for suggestions and supporting their progress.  When it comes to network marketing, you would use this leadership style with someone who has been in the business for a few months and has a basic understanding of how to do things, but isn’t totally competent on their own yet.

# 3 Supporting – With this leadership style, you really are the servant leader.  You take a supportive role toward task accomplishment and share responsibility for decision making with them.  You talk about a task and ask them what they think about it and how they think it should be done.  You ask if they need anything from you.  When it comes to network marketing you can use this style with someone who is “almost” proficient and self-motivated, but still has questions and needs help from time-to-time.

# 4 Delegating – With this leadership style, you turn over responsibility for decision making and problem solving to other people.  When it comes to network marketing, this is your ultimate goal.  This is when you find and develop other leaders who don’t need your help or support.  They take the bull by the horns and run with it, and are completely independent of you.

How This Applies to Network Marketing?

Network marketing is a volunteer Army.  No one wants another boss and no one has to follow your lead.  Ultimately, your people skills and leadership skills will have a huge impact on your long-term success in this industry.  You have to be likable.  You have to be someone worth following.  You have to be an effective leader to succeed.  Also, you must realize that everyone on your team is different.  They represent different personalities, religions, backgrounds, values, experiences, etc.  The more people you can relate to the better.

Favorite Quotes from the Book

Here are a few quotes from the book that really resonated with me.

# 1 … Managers should work for their people. As a leader, you work for the people you are in charge of.  In network marketing, you work for your downline.  They don’t work for you.  It’s your duty to be a servant leader. You are only as good as the team of people you lead.

# 2 Your leadership style is the way you coach or work with someone. Everyone has a different leadership style based upon their personality, talents and background.

# 3 You have to diagnose the needs of the people you work with.  You have to learn to use a variety of leadership styles flexibly.  And you have to learn how to come to some agreements with them about the leadership style they need from you. You must learn how to lead each person on your team differently.  Find out what leadership style works best with them.  Ask them for input.  And then evaluate their skills and motivation and decide which leadership style is best.

# 4 There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals.  No one is equal.  We all have different talents and abilities.  Everyone is different.  We have equal rights, but we are unequal.

# 5 A directing style is appropriate when a decision has to be made quickly and the stakes are high.  This is when you tell people exactly what to do and how to do it.  This is best used with unmotivated people or new and unskilled people.

# 6 Directing is also appropriate for inexperienced people who you think have the potential to be self-directive. Sometimes you need to tell new people exactly what to do, even if they are self-motivated, because they don’t have the experience to figure it out on their own yet.

# 7 Experienced people like to be listened to and supported.  Don’t try to micro-manage your competent people.  Encourage them.  Listen more.  And do what you can to make their life easier.

# 8 … As people begin to work on a task, they often find it harder to master than they thought it was going to be, so they lose interest.  In network marketing, many people give up once they learn they will get rejected and actually have to do some work.  That’s where working closely with them in the beginning can make a big difference.

# 9 Delegating is appropriate for people who are self-reliant achievers – people who are competent and committed.  When you have a stud, delegate what you can and stay the heck out their way.  These folks make the business fun and represent no more than five percent of your team, if that.

# 10 Top performers don’t need much supervision or praise as long as they know how well they are doing.  Give periodic feedback to your top producers and once again, stay the heck out their way.

# 11 When you know what you’re doing right you don’t need a boss.  Once you become proficient at something you can manage and lead yourself.

# 12 Once people know what to do, they need to know what good performance looks like.  Once people are trained, show people what the standard is.

# 13 Managers hire people, tell them what to do, and then leave them alone and assume good performance will follow.  In other words, they abdicate; they don’t delegate.  Your job is to teach each person what they need to do, and support them until they become self-sufficient.

# 14 But my goal is to gradually change my leadership style until my people can perform their jobs well on their own with little supervision or support from me. What you really want is a team of distributors who don’t need your help and can lead and manage themselves.

# 15 Situational leadership is not something you do to people but something you do with people.  Leading people is a two-way interaction, not a one-way conversation.

# 16 … You want to stretch them, but you don’t want to make the goals so difficult that they’re unattainable and the individual gets demotivated.  Help people take baby steps that take them out of their comfort zone a little bit, but also make sure the goals aren’t so big the person can never achieve them.

# 17 Everyone is a potential high performer some people just need a little help along the way. It’s our job to help everyone we can be self-sufficient as quickly as possible.  We are really in the “potential development” business.  Everyone has a seed of greatness within them.  It’s our job to cultivate that seed until it harvests.

About the Book

Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership by Dr. Ken Blanchard was first published by William Morrow® in October 1999.  It has 112-pages and comes in hardcover or soft-cover format.  There are several different editions of the book that have been updated through the years.  As of February 2016, it has 63 reviews on Amazon with an average 4.3 star rating.  The ISBN is 978-0688039691.

About Ken Blanchard

Dr. Ken Blanchard is one of the top leadership and management trainers in the world.  He has written several best-selling books, including “The One Minute Manager®.”

Closing Thoughts

In review, I highly recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position, sales, entrepreneurship, marketing or network marketing.  If you have aspirations to be a better leader and take your network marketing business to the next level, this book can really help you get there.  It’s a great book to give to any aspiring leader on your team.  If you’ve read it before I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below to tell us what you liked or disliked about the book.  Thanks.  Have a nice day!

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3 thoughts on “Leadership and the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard: Book Review

  1. Kathy Marie Howell

    I have not heard of this book before but plan to put it on my reading list after your wonderful review. I think we can always grow as leaders and I like the thought of treating people with a style that matches theirs.

    Thanks for sharing one of your favorite books!

  2. Greg Boudonck

    Great review of this book Chuck.

    As leaders, we have to somewhat understand psychology and sociology. We need to understand what makes each person “tick.” This can help us choose the right leadership method.

    It is not easy, and that is why many people are not leaders. This does sound like a great book that we should read to enhance our leadership abilities.

    Thanks for sharing this. I will put it on the list for a must read book.


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