"The solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle."

Arushi Pant

Always eager to learn. Determined to make the best of the time I've got on Earth.

Book Reading: The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams

Posted on September 19, 2014

situational leadership chart

(Image source: http://www.firefightingincanada.com/content/view/1403/213/ )

I have an awesome team of high performers. While I am proud of them, I want them to achieve more and be even better, and for that I have to learn how to be a good leader and a great teacher. So, I have been trying to get hold of books that would help me support my team. This book ( The One Minute Manager Builds High Performing Teams ) was already in my dad's book shelf, so I decided to read this first.

This book is written by Kenneth Blanchard along with Donald Carew and Eunice Parisi-Carew.

The book was good (not awesome maybe, but good). I would rate it 3 out 5 stars. I did get to learn something new that I did not know about before.

I came across the 'Situational Leadership' concept while reading the book. The situational leadership theory is a leadership theory originally developed by Paul Hersey, professor and author of the book 'Situational Leader', and Ken Blanchard, leadership guru and author of 'The One Minute Manager'.

What Situational Leadership means is that there is no single best style of leadership. The leader needs to change his/her style of leadership according to the current needs of the individual or team he/she is leading.

The book talked about how we can use 'Situational Leadership® II' to help our teams become highly productive teams. Leaders need to provide varying combination of directive and supportive behaviours, according to the development stage the team is in. Different teams in different stages were described along with their leaders to help relate the theory better.

situational leadership

(Image Source: http://skipwalter.net/2012/03/02/advice-to-a-non-technical-ceo-of-a-software-startup/ )

I also came across the concept of PERFORM. High performing teams show the characteristics defined under the acronym of PERFORM (There is a nice blog post regarding this here). The leader's work is to help the team achieve these characteristics.

Perform Venn diagram

To be an effective group leader, or member, one needs to become an effective observer and a participant at the same time. While observing a group's process, you need to be observing

- Communication & participation: who talks to whom? who is left out? who talks most often?
- Decision making: how the group goes about making a decision
- Conflict: how is conflict handled?
- Leadership: who is influencing whom?
- Goals and roles: is the team clear about these?
- Group norms: which norms (rules governing group's behaviour) are most obvious in the group?
- Problem solving: how does the group solve problems?
- Climate/tone: feeling or tone of the group - how pleasant it seems.

Once you get the hang of being a participant observer, it will be easy to diagnose the group's functioning and development stage. Accordingly, the team leader adjusts the leadership style, and works towards empowering the team.

The four stages through which a group goes through are -

Stage 1: Orientation (Leadership style = Directing)
Stage 2: Dissatisfaction (Leadership style = Coaching)
Stage 3: Resolution (Leadership style = Supporting)
Stage 4: Production (Leadership style = Delegating)

A team leader's most important function is to help the group move through the stages of development.

More notes from the book -

1. When in doubt about a group's stage, start with a directive style

2. Try to move quickly from directive to coaching style (but in a gradual manner - step by step), and begin to encourage members to share their ideas and opinions.

3. You will never, never, never have an empowered, self-directed team unless the manager is willing to share control

4. Your job as a manager is to help people and teams develop so they have competence and commitment and the ability to share in making decisions.

5. Groups may regress to a previous stage - when groups gain, lose, or change members, when task changes or if a major event occurs which disrupts group functioning. (move back one leadership style at a time until you solve the problem)

6. The words "Manager" and "Educator" are synonymous.

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