Book Report: The One-Minute Manager

The One-Minute Manager, by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, is a quick ready. It comes in at just 112 pages. So, that is one argument for why you should read it, I suppose; you can learn something useful in just one sitting.

My argument against reading it is the same argument against reading a lot of these management books. There is no evidence to back up what they claim you should be doing to be a good manager. This (like The 5 Dysfunction of a Team) are written as a story with key management lessons sprinkled throughout. I am not a fan of that writing or learning style.

The story emphasizes the importance of asking the right questions, holding staff to a high standard, accountability, and offering praise when it’s appropriate. Common knowledge? Probably.

The book has some nice, neat, easily packaged take aways.

The One Minute Manager establishes One Minute Goals. Those are goals that should take no more than one minute to read. Write up goals for your team and individual employees on a regular basis to help manage their work flow, manage the team’s and your expectations, and help to keep everyone on task. They suggest having just a few short-term goals at one time; those goals are constantly updated.

The One Minute Manager also looks for things to praise. It only takes one minute to find something good! I do like the notion of keeping an eye out for the positive, especially in the busiest times at work! Of course, praise can help build motivation and reinforce what a person is doing.

Finally, the One Minute Manager reprimands in One Minute. It is a two step process. First, tell the person that what he or she did wrong, how you feel about it, and then let that simmer. Then, step two, tell the person how how much you value them and tell them your sense of their capabilities. The idea behind this one is that if you reprimand immediately after the reprimand-worthy event and reprimand often then a culture of feedback is built and employees get back on track quickly. To me, again, this advice seems pretty basic. Of course I value my team and will tell them that… even when trying to correct something that went wrong.

This was a quick summary. The author, Ken Blanchard himself, has a quick 8-minute lecture on the One Minute Manager.

So, overall, do I recommend this book? No. But, now that you have this handy summary, you essentially have the main take-aways minus the silly story. You’re welcome.

2 Replies to “Book Report: The One-Minute Manager”

  1. I highly recommend this method. It creates constant open communications and conversations between a manager and employees. It does require managers need to be present to manage. However, if you are a seagull type manager you might not like this approach.

  2. I had a boss who was unique. When I drilled him on schooling / training from which his uniqueness was derived, he gave me a copy of “The One Minute Manger”. As I read I saw he practiced many of the methods covered, so I had to watch to see what was getting the most results. Seemed like Catching People In The Act Of Doing Something Good was a biggie, so I used it the next day. I saw posture improve and something about the facial expression told me it would be spoken of at dinner that night. (I learned later it was discussed at their dinner that night). Over time that employee went from someone we probably should fire to manage of the year 4 out of 5 years.
    The Catching People In The Act Of Doing Something Good not only became a big tool in my management, but it became dominate in every part of my life. Many times when I hear a grumbler, “I thank God for the One Minute Manager” as it changed my life for the good.

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