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Take your shortcomings less seriously

by on
in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Ken Blanchard couldn’t write well, had a fear of tests and took his college boards four times.

Advised to become an administrator, he wound up as an assistant to a college dean, who expected him to teach. He’d never thought about teaching because of his writing deficiency, but he prepared well and impressed his students. They ranked him as one of the top 10 teachers on campus.

Next, Blanchard asked to sit in on an organizational behavior and leadership course. The professor, slightly hostile at first, eventually admitted to Blanchard that he was a nervous wreck because he couldn’t write. The two who “couldn’t write” ended up co-authoring a best-selling textbook that’s now in its eighth edition.

Blanchard then met a children’s book writer and decided, based on his wife’s suggestion, to write a children’s book for adults. The result: The One Minute Manager.

Some of Blanchard’s thoughts on leadership:
  • When he came home from school one day bursting with pride because he’d been elected class president, his father said: “Son, it’s great that you’re president of the seventh grade, but now that you have that leadership position, don’t ever use it. Great leaders are followed because people respect them and like them, not because they have power.”

  • Most people, Blanchard says, believe their self-worth is a function of their job performance plus others’ opinions. “The minute you define your self-worth like that,” he says, “every day your self-worth is up for grabs.”

  • “Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people,” he says. “People believe business is only about the bottom line. But no, the bottom line happens to be the result of creating customers who are raving fans.”
“Leadership,” Blanchard says, “is not something you do to people; it’s something you do with them.”

— Adapted from The Masters of Success, David E. Wright, interviewer, Insight Publishing.

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