Back in 1981, Ken Blanchard wrote his #1 bestselling book, “The One Minute Manager”. The book demonstrates some very practical and proactive ways to manage your people, all centered on the thought process of quick and focused interactions with your employees. The end goal was an empowered team that was led by a proactive and focused manager. Some thirty years later, it seems that our business culture has morphed many of our leaders into the “Got a Minute Manager”. The “Got a Minute Manager” is characterized as being easily accessible, constantly operating in interruption mode, and micromanaging the team to the point that the entire organization operates with a short term, tactical focus. The end result is a team and organization that is working harder, not smarter, and employees asking the question, “Whatever happened to great leadership?” If you find yourself living in the world as the “Got a Minute Manager”, here are some steps to get you back to the “One Minute Manager” mentality:
Take Back Your Time by Implementing Strong Boundaries
The key to ending your days as the “Got a Minute Manager” is to build some strong boundaries around your time. The best way to accomplish this is to tell your staff that they are no longer free to interrupt or approach you whenever they feel like it. Ken Blanchard suggested in “The One Minute Manager” to set up 15 or 30 minute touch bases once a week with your employees. Instruct your employees to bring their questions and issues to their weekly touch bases. If there is an emergency and they absolutely have to talk to you, set up two or three 10-minute times during the day where you have an “open door” to address those specific issues. Taking this step will free up your time so that you aren’t in constant reactionary mode, and will allow you to have time to actually lead, instead of react. Additionally, it will empower your employees to find their own solutions to problems, instead of constantly relying on your direction.
End Wasteful Meetings – Once and for All
“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’” – Dave Barry
As the quote above suggests, most meetings are a complete waste of time. If you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time in wasteful meetings, here are a couple of key things you can do to end this problem:
- Have a written meeting agenda for every meeting you hold, and demand the same from others
- End your meetings with specific assigned actions items and due dates
- Make sure your meetings have a time limit, and stick to it
Following these three simple keys will eliminate 80% of your wasteful meetings, and open up huge blocks of time to focus on the two key areas every great leader focuses on, which is leading and developing.
Lead and Develop Yourself and Your Team
Great leaders do two things well – they lead their teams, and they develop the capacity of their people. One of the main reasons that we have so many “Got a Minute Managers” these days is simply because managers don’t understand how to lead, and the power of developing the talents of their team. So, it becomes easier to completely avoid these things by being ‘busy’ reacting to things all the time. By installing some boundaries and managing your time, you can open up the time to lead and develop.
Great leaders take the time to understand the needs of their employees, and work with them to develop their talents so they can move up within the company, as well as increase their capacity to contribute to the team. Now that you have extra time for this, set up a time to talk to each of your employees to have a discussion about where they want to go with their careers, and how you can help them. Put together a formal development program, where you are meeting on a regular basis to develop your staff and provide them the tools and training to do so. Additionally, be a role model by doing the same for yourself.
If you follow the 3 keys above, you’ll quickly make the shift from the “Got a Minute Manager” to the “One Minute Manager”. The end result will be a team that works smarter, not harder, and an environment of development, growth, and superior results. Now, go be a great leader!