3 Secrets of the One Minute Manager

one minute manager book

The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer, is a book that shares three profound insights about management. The book centers around a young man who is in search of an effective manager. On this journey, he meets some ‘autocratic’ managers who are only concerned about the results and some ‘democratic’ managers who are concerned only about the people. Both these extremes had severe downsides, and the resulting performance was lopsided.

Despite the initial setbacks, the man did not give up the search for an effective manager who knew how to manage his employees and simultaneously deliver results. Ultimately, he comes across a manager who calls himself “the one minute manager” and claims to know the right things to do to bring out the best in an individual.

3 Secrets of One Minute Manager for Effective Management

The one minute manager book shares top three secrets with the young managers that are relevant in any organizational setting.

First Secret: One Minute Goals

The first secret relies on letting your employees know the expectations from the very beginning. The ability to create concise micro-goals, together with the knowledge of what peak performance looks like, allows a worker to perform more productively. The immediate feedback to the employee after each goal is complete further adds to his motivation.

One Minute Goals work best when:

  • A manager has described each goal briefly and clearly.
  • He has established what good performance looks like from the start.
  • He has asked his workers to write down their objectives with due dates.
  • He reviews the daily progress of the employees.
  • He teaches the employees to reflect on their behavior to see if it matches their goals.

Why One Minute Goals work is not rocket science. Imagine yourself playing football, and you are not aware of how many goals you have scored. Naturally, you will lose interest after a certain point. But if you know that you need six goals to win and have already scored four, you will try to get the other two goals quickly. It does not help to beat around the bush instead of having a robust result-oriented approach like the one-minute goals. One Minute Goals also provide people with a sense of achievement after they complete an objective. Consistent feedback on results motivates an individual to strive harder. Writing down the micro-goals ensures that keeping track of progress and performance is simplified.

Second Secret: One Minute Praising

Now that progress is being made towards achieving the company goals, the next step in One Minute Management is praising people for doing something right. True to its name, it does not require more than a minute to tell an employee that he has done a fine job. There is no need for a flashy party to celebrate. A quick acknowledgment of a job done well makes the employee feel genuinely good and encourages him to do more of the same.

One Minute Praising works best when:

  • The manager praises an individual as soon as they finish an important task.
  • He specifies the details of why the employee is receiving the praise.
  • He expresses that he is pleased with the individual’s work and encourages them to continue working in the same way.

One Minute Praising is a crucial step in this three-pronged approach to being an effective manager. Most supervisors do not dish out praises unless their employees have performed exceptionally well. One Minute Praising is a way of encouraging your staff that makes it clear that you are confident about their abilities and will always acknowledge good performance. For exceptional results, all employees must put in their best effort. Praising can be the incentive to go above and beyond to complete all the company objectives.

Third Secret: One Minute Reprimands

Even though a manager might have done everything necessary to create a productive atmosphere, it is human nature to mess up now and then. One Minute Manager’s final secret to success involves reprimanding an employee when he does something wrong. One Minute Reprimands take place in two distinct parts. The first half includes telling the employee what they did wrong and how it affected the company. After a few seconds of uncomfortable silence that allows the employee to reflect, the second half begins. You should be able to objectively criticize the work instead of blaming the employee as a person. You then tell the individual that you think they are capable and indispensable.

One minute reprimands work well when:

  • The manager points out an employee’s mistake as soon as possible.
  • He confirms the facts before reprimanding.
  • He authentically expresses how he feels about the slipup and its impact on results.
  • He pauses for a brief moment to let it sink in.
  • He reminds the employee that he has faith in his abilities and will always support his successes.

One Minute Reprimands are so effective because it allows the management to catch the mistakes at the earliest. The polite feedback also happens in short, small doses. Instead of attacking a person with pent-up frustration accumulated over a long time, it is better to scold them immediately. Getting reprimanded for a blunder made yesterday is more likely to impact an employee than being scolded for one that had occurred several months ago. If you emphasize trying to catch people doing something wrong, their main aim will be to do no wrong. That might be counterproductive and prompt mediocrity because all employees will focus on walking the middle line.

Parting thoughts

One Minute Manager, a New York Times bestseller book, has sold over 15 million copies and been translated into 47 languages. The book deserves universal appeal because the actionable management techniques mentioned in it are still relevant today. This article summarizes the key aspects of One Minute Manager. These secrets, if applied in conjunction, could lead to personal and organizational growth. The newest edition of the book, published in 2015, renamed the third secret: One Minute Reprimands into One Minute Redirects.