The greatest management book ever written is the One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by legendary Ken Blanchard. Old book, same great tips!
This week, I was strategizing on an upcoming leadership development project with someone who came to a leadership class of mine over five years ago. When I brought up this book, she said she distinctly remembers me giving her this book years ago and it was life changing! I agree, I received this book at a management training workshop at Target in 2001. And I have read it at least eight times in the last eighteen years
The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey is all about monkey management. Ever heard the term “monkey on your back”? It means you have work to do, work that’s saying you down, and work that you take ownership.
As a manager, you often have direct team members who stop by your office to drop off monkeys. They disguise their monkeys as questions. They need these questions answered so they can get their work done. But when they ask a question, we often say, “let me get back to you.” Or “let me ask”. Or “let me research that.” And the monkey has been effectively dropped off in your office.
Leadership development programs often focus on delegation. Delegation fails when you let the monkey back into your office. Instead my leadership programs focus on delegating and managing monkeys. Help your team members think through problems and point them in the right direction, but don’t let them leave the monkey with you. Management development can not exclude this important concept. Executive coaching often ends of discussing this too! If you can figure out how to manage monkeys, you can define leadership for yourself in a whole new way! Define leadership by actually leading and not doing.
How do you know if you need to work on it? If you look at your to-do list and you owe many people things or if your team is frequently waiting for you to get them information, go read the One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Ken Blanchard. It is the start to moving from a Corporate Exhausted Hero to Strategic Manager and from Fire Fighter to Fire Chief.