Monday, 6 August 2012

The Heart Of A Leader

I am a fan of Ken Blanchard.  In my book collection, I have two of his books, 'The One-Minute Manager" and "The One-Minute Sales Manager" which I read quite often.

I came across this article by Mac Anderson, the Founder of Simple Truths, which I would like to share with you, the people who lead people.

Ken Blanchard is a legend as a business author. He's written 25 books and his classic, The One Minute Manager, has sold over 15 million copies. Therefore, a few years ago, when he invited me to come up and spend a few days with him at his lake home in upstate New York, I jumped at the chance.

The first night of my visit to Ken's lake home, we were sitting on the deck with Humberto, his son-in-law, talking about some ways we could work together. It was about 10 p.m., when all of a sudden Ken jumped up and asked to be excused. He returned at about 10:20 and Humberto asked, "What happened?" Ken said,

"I can't believe it; I forgot to call Dorothy on her birthday."

Later that night, after Ken had gone to bed, Humberto told me that Dorothy is an 85-year-old part-time employee for the company. It then dawned on me that at 10 p.m. Ken left to spend almost 20 minutes talking to Dorothy and inquiring about how she had spent her special day. However, after spending more time with Ken over the next year, I came to realize that this was no fluke. This is who he is. The last time while visiting him at his San Diego office, I learned that one of his employees who worked in the warehouse had recently passed away. On that day, Ken had invited the employee's wife to come to his office. When she arrived, he spent an hour walking around with her carrying a tape recorder to record all of the wonderful memories that other employees had of her husband. When the wife left she said it was a day she'd never forget.

You see, what many leaders would have considered a waste of time, Ken saw as an opportunity to serve and to thank his people. He doesn't do it because it's expected of him, he does it because he truly cares. It comes from his heart, and his people love him for being the servant leader that he is.

Therefore, I could have searched the world over, and not found a better person to write a book titled, The Heart of a Leader. Ken Blanchard walks the talk, and is one of the best leaders I've ever met.

A river without banks is a large puddle ~ Ken Blanchard

Start your people on a journey to the land of empowerment, but don't forget that they need boundaries. If you cut them loose without any direction, they will get lost and revert back to their old unempowered habits. Like the banks of a river, boundaries have the ability to channel energy in the right direction. If you take away the boundaries, your people will lose their momentum and direction. Boundaries that create autonomy include:
Purpose—what does your company do?
Values—what are your company's operational guidelines?
Goals—where is your company headed?
Roles—who does what?
Structure—how is your company organized?
Don't send inexperienced people off alone and then punish them when they make mistakes. Establish clear boundaries that will free them to make decisions, take initiative, act like owners, and stay on track.

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