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Running Head: LEADERSHIP QUOTE ESSAY

A Sound Mission Requires Clear Vision


By Shane Gray
Siena Heights University
The Graduate School Application
August 08, 2015

Running Head: LEADERSHIP QUOTE ESSAY

A Sound Mission Requires Clear Vision


In 1979 Drs. Ken and Marjorie Blanchard began The Ken Blanchard Companies. The
operating principles behind the spirit of the company consisted of three goals. These three
simple goalsto make a difference in peoples lives, to drive human worth and effectiveness in
the workplace, and to help each organization we work with become the provider, employer, and
investment of choice (Blanchard, 2015), makeup one of the banners you will find located on
The Ken Blanchard Companies website. These goals remain as the guiding principles that you
will notice rather quickly when you delve into the writings and teachings of Dr. Ken Blanchard.
Dr. Ken Blanchard, a management expert, leadership instructor and author, was
introduced to me through the concept of servant leadership. Dr. Blanchards book The One
Minute Manager (1982) revealed an understanding of servanthood that made it easy for me to
realize what makes a good manager. The effective managersmanage themselves and the
people they work with so both the organization and the people profit from their presence
(Blanchard, 1982). This quote would prove to become part of my mission statement and my
favorite leadership quote.
One of the greatest and necessary strengths of a good leader, in my opinion, is the ability
to maintain a positive attitude regardless of what they are confronted with. My understanding of
Dr. Blanchards quote is in reference to an effective manager, or leaders ability to manage their
attitude. In its developing stages we are shaped by what we observe and by what we learn; but it
is my belief that the bricks and mortar, which shapes our attitude, is established through our
experiences and what happens to us, around us, and with those that we care about.
Chuck Swindoll, Chancellor of the Dallas Theological Seminary, states, he is convinced
that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it (2009). Although on paper, a
statement of this nature looks very agreeable; it can be very difficult to maintain control over our

Running Head: LEADERSHIP QUOTE ESSAY

attitude. True maturity, in my opinion, occurs only after we realize that no one has control over
us, except when we turn it over to them. Therefore, in summarizing Swindolls work, I interpret
his statement to imply that, when we are mature enough to maintain our own attitude, it is then
that the effective manager or leader manages themselves and the people they work with
(Blanchard, 1982).
Stephen Coveys, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (2003), defines how an
effective manager will accomplish managing themselves in Habit #5 Seek first to understand
and then to be understood. In a society where it may appear that the norm is to always be on
top, leadership experts, such as Covey, would suggest that as a leader we must seek first to
understand, and then be understood. Carrying out a mission requires clear vision. When a
manager is too busy focusing on their own desires, they may tend to run over those around
them, rather than to be concerned with their people or their needs. The spirit of Dr. Blanchards
effective managers quote, would agree that managing ones self and managing others, would
require seeking an understanding of the people, so as to communicate with them in a way that
they will understand. This is also a necessary principle in empathy. In my opinion, to the degree
that we focus on understanding others, is in direct correlation with the level of empathy we
possess.
The significance of Dr. Blanchards quote was so powerful that it caused me to continue
my research, which led me to Robert Greenleaf. Greenleafs teaching states, Servant leadership
is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better
organizations and ultimately creates a more caring world (1970). It is through the heart of
servant leadership that an effective manager, manage[s] themselves and the people they work
with so both the organization and the people profit from their presence (Blanchard, 1982).
In conclusion, to some, leadership means that they are in charge. To others, leadership

Running Head: LEADERSHIP QUOTE ESSAY

is one of the greatest responsibilities that could be bestowed upon them. The fact that others
would place themselves under the care and confidence of another individual is an honor that
should never be taken lightly. The leader with an attitude towards others well-being is very
easily recognizable; they will be the one in the front, pulling their people forward when there is
uncertainty. They will be the one who is behind their people cheering them on toward the finish
line of success. One of the greatest illustrations that I have discovered which represents the spirit
of a leader was depicted by Charles Swindoll in his January 2, 2013 Insight for Living
devotional, where he shared the following story about President Thomas Jefferson:
During his days as president, Thomas Jefferson and a group of companions were
traveling across the country on horseback. They came to a river which had left its banks
because of a recent downpour. The swollen river had washed the bridge away. Each
rider was forced to ford the river on horseback, fighting for his life against the rapid
currents. The very real possibility of death threatened each rider, which caused a traveler
who was not part of their group to step aside and watch. After several had plunged in and
made it to the other side, the stranger asked President Jefferson if he would ferry him
across the river. The president agreed without hesitation. The man climbed on, and
shortly thereafter the two of them made it safely to the other side. As the stranger slid off
the back of the saddle onto dry ground, one in the group asked him, Tell me, why did you
select the president to ask this favor of? The man was shocked, admitting he had no idea
it was the president who had helped him. All I know, he said, is that on some of your
faces was written the answer 'No,' and on some of them was the answer 'Yes.' His was a
'Yes' face. (Swindoll, 2013)
The illustration of this servant leader revealed the heart of President Jefferson. The illustration
painted by the words of this story speaks clearly to the spirit of the quote by Dr. Blanchard. The

Running Head: LEADERSHIP QUOTE ESSAY

main concern was the safety and welfare of this traveler, rather than the position or title of the
horseman that the traveler had requested take him across the river. Thomas Jefferson, in this
instance, sets the standard for the concept of managing himself, and managing his people so that
both the organization and the people profit from his presence. (Blanchard, 1982)

Running Head: LEADERSHIP QUOTE ESSAY


References
Blanchard, K. (2015). Over 35 Years of Leadership Excellence. Retrieved on August 01, 2015,
from: https://www.kenblanchard.com/About-Us/Our-Story
Blanchard, K. (1982). The One Minute Manager. William Morrow and Company Inc.: New
York, NY.
Covey, S. (2003). The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Fireside: New York, NY.
Greenleaf, R. (1970). The Servant as Leader. Retrieved on August 01, 2015, from:
https://greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/
Swindoll, C. (January, 2013). The Power of Grace. Retrieved on August 01, 2015, from:
http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/grace/the-power-of-grace.html
Swindoll, C. (2009). The Value of a Positive Attitude. Retrieved on August 01, 2015, from:
http://daily.insight.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=13123