Developing Great Leadership Habits: Making Common Sense Common Practice

February 6, 2024 David Witt

Leadership experts Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley are on a mission to make common sense common practice when it comes to bringing out the best in people at work. In their new book, Simple Truths of Leadership Playbook, the two authors have put together a 52-week game plan for becoming a trusted servant leader. It’s been Conley’s passion for the past 15 years, and a field of study that goes back over 50 years for Blanchard.

Conley’s focus is trust—a vital ingredient in any work relationship.

“Someone must make the first move to extend trust. Leaders go first,” says Conley.

“Trust can’t grow until someone extends it. Most leaders tend to think they are automatically trusted by others because of their position or title, which is an illusion. The truth is that leaders have the responsibility to first extend trust to their people, which in turn allows them to demonstrate their own trustworthiness.”

The trust component complements Blanchard’s decades-long focus on servant leadership—the belief that people lead best when they serve first.

“Servant leadership is not just another management technique,” says Blanchard. “It is a way of life for people with servant hearts. In organizations run by servant leaders, servant leadership becomes a mandate, not a choice—and the byproducts are better leadership, engaged employees, and a high-performing organization.”

In their new book, Blanchard and Conley put the focus squarely on moving from knowing to doing.

“We’ve identified this as a Playbook very intentionally,” says Blanchard. “Two years ago we introduced these concepts in our book Simple Truths of Leadership to summarize all the things we've been teaching over years. This year we are focused on helping leaders move from intention to action. Knowledge is great, but it has to be combined with attitude and behavior. That’s where the action is. We think the Playbook really gets at both of those aspects.”

“We’ve had a number of clients and others who purchased the first book tell us about different ways they sent out the messages from our simple truths to their teams or their organizations,” adds Conley. “Some told us they were following along on a weekly basis, which sparked the idea: what if we gave them specific guidance on how to implement our concepts?

“Ken and I talked about the possibility of having a standard template, but that didn't really seem to fit the differences among the simple truths. So we decided to pull from some of the activities we use with our Blanchard clients and then mix in self-reflective prompts, assessments, and guided exercises. We wanted it to appeal to people with different learning styles. In the Playbook, leaders get a sneak peek at some of the more in-depth activities Blanchard uses in our training programs with clients.”

“It helps to have a strategy for staying committed to your commitments,” adds Blanchard. “I do my best by starting my day slowly so I’m able to be thoughtful about how I approach each task. I can prioritize easier, be more creative, and eliminate a lot of stress this way. By entering my day slowly, I find it easier to focus on the most important things and have more energy to face challenges.

“At the end of the day, I'll reflect on what I did that was consistent with what I want to do, and also on what I could have done differently. When you monitor yourself over time, you have a better chance of staying consistent.”

“Becoming a trusted servant leader is a journey,” says Conley. “It's something we're always working on, so no matter how far along we are on that path, there's always room for improvement. Learning how to build trust is a skill—and it’s the foundation of being a servant leader. If your people don't trust you, they're not going to follow you no matter how good your intentions are.”

Blanchard adds, “Leaders looking to start that journey need to put their ego aside. The biggest thing that keeps someone from being a servant leader is the belief that somehow all the brains are in their office and everyone needs to listen to them.

“Changing your behavior can mean going to your people and saying, ‘I need your help. My goal is to be a servant leader. I think I’m almost there, but there are a few areas I could use help with. Real servant leadership is about we, not me, and that's what I want to make sure we do.”

“As a leader, the more you give to others and help them succeed, the more that comes back to you and helps you be successful as a leader,” says Conley.

“It’s common sense, but not common practice,” says Blanchard. “Good leaders know what to do—they just need some help putting the concepts into practice. We want to help people do that with our Playbook.

“The only way to have both great results and great relationships is through servant leadership because it focuses on all aspects of leadership: not only vision and direction, but also values and goals. It's all about we, not me.

“A lot of well-meaning managers will read a leadership book, say, ‘That's really interesting’—and then go on to the next book without implementing what they just learned. Simple Truths of Leadership Playbook combines all the lessons our company has been teaching for 45 years with a process for creating good habits. If people really use the concepts in this book, we know it will make a big difference in their family, their community, and their organization.”


Would you like to learn more about bringing servant leadership concepts—and behaviors—into your organization? Join us for a free webinar!

Simple Truths of Leadership: Moving From Intention to Action

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Effective leadership comes down to implementing everyday, commonsense practices to help organizations thrive—and yet, for so many leaders, these fundamental principles are missing in their personal and professional lives.

In this special online presentation, business experts Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley will share how you can turn your good intentions into the habits and practices that result in great leadership.

Drawing from their new, action-oriented workbook, Simple Truths of Leadership Playbook: A 52-Week Game Plan for Becoming a Trusted Servant Leader, Blanchard and Conley will reveal some of their favorite teachings and practices from the book, including how to:

  • Create a compelling vision for yourself and your organization
  • Accelerate the performance of your team by using the world’s most powerful leadership model
  • Become a trusted servant leader by developing the skills that build trust
  • Restore broken trust by using a proven three-step process

Don’t miss this opportunity to discover time-tested leadership principles that will help you and the leaders in your organization make a difference in the lives of those you influence.

Register now!

About the Author

David  Witt

David Witt is a Program Director for Blanchard®. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.

More Content by David Witt
Previous Resource
Influential Coworker Making You Crazy? Ask Madeleine
Influential Coworker Making You Crazy? Ask Madeleine

Dear Madeleine, I just read one of your past columns entitled Latest Team Member Causing Chaos? I recognize...

Next Resource
Promotion Seems Like a Deal with the Devil? Ask Madeleine
Promotion Seems Like a Deal with the Devil? Ask Madeleine

Dear Madeleine, I work for a large publishing company. I started here because my dream is to someday be a p...