The One-Minute Manager in a Three-Minute Read

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The One Minute Manager is a short book written by Kenneth Blanchard & Spenser Johnson in the form of a story of a young aspiring manager-to-be in search of the traits that make an effective manager. He goes to meet the One Minute Manager who alongside his team teaches him 3 valuable management techniques:

  • One Minute Goal Setting
  • One Minute Praising
  • One Minute Reprimand

One Minute Goal Setting

In a lot of organizations when you ask people what they do and then ask their bosses you often get two different set of task lists. With One Minute Goal setting you spend some time with your manager at the beginning of a new task or responsibility. During this time, you agree on your goals and write down each goal on a single sheet of paper using 250 words or less. This way you can re-read your goals frequently and ensure that what you do matches the desired outcome. Once the goal is understood your manager explains what good performance is, so that performance standards are clear.

One Minute Praisings

Usually your manager is waiting to catch you doing something wrong in order to comment on your actions. With One Minute Praisings the manager tells you up front that they are going to let you know how you are doing. When they catch you doing something right, they praise your actions and let you know what you did right and how it helps your colleagues and the organization. They pause so that it sinks in and encourage you to do more of the same.

One Minute Reprimands

As with One Minute Praisings the manager tells you up front that they are going to let you know how you are doing. If you make a significant mistake, then a One Minute Reprimand occurs. The One Minute Manager reprimands people immediately and explains to them in specific terms what went wrong and how it made them feel. The manager pauses to let the effect of your actions sink in and reminds you how much they value you and that they think well of you but not on your performance in this situation. Once the reprimand is over it’s over.


[1] Ken Blanchard, Spencer Johnson (1982) The One Minute Manager

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