Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Another Gem from Kenneth Blanchard, with Colleen Barrett: "Lead with LUV - A Different Way to Create Real Success"
Many of us cut our management and leadership teeth of Ken Blanchard's "The One Minute Manager." That little book put him on my radar screen. Since the overwhelming success of that bestseller, he has continued to write, to consult and to study leadership. In his latest collaboration, he has teamed with Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, to write "Lead with LUV - A Different Way to Create Real Success."
I really enjoyed this book, and found in it much to ponder and to share. I will be giving away multiple copies of this little gem. I find it interesting that in much of my reading about leadership recently - whether the focus be leadership in the military or in the business world, the topics of "love" and "servant leadership" keep popping up. Clearly, there is a strong movement away from the "Theory X" approach to managing people.
I love the succinct definition of leadership with which the authors begin: "Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader." (Page 5)
The format of the book is that Blanchard and Barrett have a protracted conversation about the nature of leadership and how Colleen executed her leadership roles at Southwest. In an early interchange, they are discussing the importance of celebrating positive achievements.
Ken Blanchard: "That's why I think you and I are soul mates, Colleen, because that's one of my core beliefs, too. If someone said to me, 'Ken, from now on you can't teach anything you have taught or written about in the past except one thing; what do you want to hold onto?' I know exactly what it would be. I would want to continue to share the belief that the key to developing people and creating great organizations is to catch people doing things right and accentuate the positive by praising them." (Page 8)
Conversely, the authors talk about taking a loving and constructive approach to correcting inappropriate or sub-optimal performance. In contrast, they caricature the "seagull manager": "Do you fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on people, and then fly out? Or do you deal with people in a straight and loving way as soon as you observe inappropriate behavior?" (Page 12)
I am also seeing a positive trend in the direction of leaders being willing to be both transparent and vulnerable with those in their organization and beyond. The authors address this trait with a pithy quotation: "People admire your strengths, but they respect your honesty regarding your vulnerability." (Page 106)
This is a book well worth reading and passing on to others in your organization or network. You will LUV it!