Creating a common leadership language

With the new revised second edition of Leadership and the One Minute Manager, authors Ken Blanchard, Drea Zigarmi, and Pat Zigarmi take an updated look at leadership in today’s flatter and more matrixed organizations.

“One of the things we tried to do with this book is address how you influence and lead others, whether it's with your leader, your team member, or with a colleague or peer,” says coauthor, Pat Zigarmi. “With the new second edition we wanted to create an updated story that more accurately reflected the work environment of today’s next generation of leaders.

“Today, leadership is a partnership. In this second edition, we broaden the concept of influencing others to include peer relationships. You have to be able get people on the same page quickly. In updating the book, our goals were to talk more about creating a common language for leadership and how to collaboratively align on expectations.”

For Zigarmi and her fellow authors, that meant taking a look at the key concepts of the original book: goal setting, praising, and reprimanding—and looking at how Blanchard’s new research on the quality of motivation impacts these three core skills of a One Minute Manager.

“Our focus is for leaders to be seen as flexible, helpful, and responsive. Our goal is to help leaders provide the right levels of direction and support to increase a team member’s sense of well-being, which leads, in turn, to intentions to perform at a high level, apply discretionary effort, and behave consistently with what the organization needs in order to thrive or flourish. We've replaced a focus on external praise and refocused on what a leader can do to create an environment where people can be self-motivated.

“We still believe in the importance of people receiving feedback about what they're accomplishing and how they're doing it, but we've learned a lot in the past 20 years about what causes people to thrive. By helping others develop competence and the capacity to evaluate their own work, leaders are optimally motivating their people.”

For Zigarmi and her coauthors, this has meant teaching leaders how to help team members self-correct instead of depending on their leaders to do that. Leaders should recognize initiative and transferable skills, progress, contributions, and other things that are praiseworthy; but their long-term focus should be on helping people do that for themselves.

That means adjusting your leadership style to meet the needs of individual team members. For a team member who is new to a task with little experience, the manager’s task is to acknowledge a person's initiative. You also want to acknowledge the transferable skills, willingness to try, and willingness to work hard. As the team member builds competence—but his or her commitment still lags, you want to call out and acknowledge the progress the person is making. Finally, as a person becomes more self-reliant you want to acknowledge his or her skill and expertise.

“The enduring principle is flexibility,” explains Zigarmi. “Leaders need to be comfortable with a wide range of leadership styles from directing to coaching to supporting to delegating. In the new second edition of Leadership and the One Minute Manager, we encourage leaders to use their flexibility to match individual needs for direction and support in order to be able to give people what they need, when they need it.

“Our goal with the book is for readers to step back and ask themselves if they truly understand the needs of the people they are influencing. We would like them to walk away being more intentional about how they work with their people. Our goal is to help people construct conversations that are geared to the different needs, at the different levels of development, that their people are at on specific goals and tasks.”

For Zigarmi, that means becoming skilled in six different conversations:

  1. Alignment Conversations are used to set SMART goals and tasks and to discuss the leadership style match for the person’s development level on each goal.
  2. The four Style Conversations (S1, S2, S3, and S4) are used to develop competence and commitment by providing information, resources, and direction when team members are just starting out; coaching and feedback when they are learning; good questions and encouragement; and, ultimately, influence and growth opportunities when they are more accomplished.
  3. One on One Conversations are where team members can ask for the leadership styles they need. A One on One conversation is a chance for leaders to recalibrate when team members can ask for a little more—or a little less—direction and support.

“Alignment Conversations help people get on the same page,” explains Zigarmi. “And then, Style 1, Style 2, Style 3, and Style 4 Conversations build competence and commitment toward a specific goal or task. As authors, our focus now is on helping leaders have better conversations over time instead of just goal-setting conversations on the front end and performance evaluation conversations on the back end. Instead, we want them to have partnering conversations all along the way. It's the conversations and the follow-through across the middle that help people develop to be their best.”


Would you like to learn more about creating a better working environment for your people and how to have more focused conversations? Then join us for a free webinar.

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

Thursday, December 19, 2013
9:00–10:00 a.m. Pacific, 12:00–1:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00–6:00 p.m. UK and GMT

Join Pat Zigarmi for an executive overview of the key concepts of Leadership and the One Minute Manager, coauthored with Ken Blanchard and Drea Zigarmi. Pat will share some of the core concepts of both the new updated second edition of Leadership and the One Minute Manager and also how the concepts have been integrated into Blanchard’s new learning design for Situational Leadership® II – The SLII® Experience.

Specifically, you'll explore

  1. How to be more purposeful and intentional in your conversations with your people
  2. How to create a sense of partnership by aligning on goals, development level, and the leadership style match
  3. How to create a work environment that is optimally motivating
  4. How to use a common language of leadership to develop trust

Don't miss this opportunity to learn how to partner and work with team members, peers, or colleagues in a side-by-side relationship. Discover how the key concepts of Leadership and the One Minute Manager have been built into the most widely taught leadership development model in the world—Situational Leadership II.

View On-Demand