The One Minute Manager

The One Minute Manager

I just finished reading a fascinating short book called “The One Minute Manager”, written by Dr. Kenneth Blanchard and Dr. Spencer Johnson. This book was part of my training to become a team lead for the computer science team at the Carleton Science Student Success Centre. It provides insight into a style of management that is definitely applicable to many aspects of our daily lives - not just in a work setting. According to the book, the techniques talked about can, and should, be applied by all levels of employees, not just managers.

I won’t go into too much detail in this post (you can always read the book here), but I will outline the key points.

One Minute Management

There are three components to One Minute Management: One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands.

One Minute Goals

One Minute Goals can be described by the following steps.

  1. Agree on your goals.
  2. See what good behavior looks like.
  3. Write out each of your goals on a single sheet of paper using less than 250 words.
  4. Read and re-read each goal, which requires only a minute or so each time you do it.
  5. Take a minute every once in a while out of your day to look at your performance
  6. See whether or not your behavior matches your goal.

It is important that people know exactly what their goals are - after all, how can you progress effectively in life if you are feeling around in the dark? Not only that, but the goals must be measurable - one needs to be able to check the progress of a goal with ease. This makes it easier for people to frequently check their progress with regards to their goals, and figure out the best way to achieve them. Eventually, they will become experienced enough that they will be able to set their own goals, without the help of a manager.

One Minute Praisings

One Minute Praisings can be described by the following steps.

  1. Tell people up front that you are going to let them know how they are doing.
  2. Praise people immediately.
  3. Tell people what they did right — be specific.
  4. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there.
  5. Stop for a moment of silence to let them “feel” how good you feel.
  6. Encourage them to do more of the same.
  7. Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization.

These praisings let people know when they are headed in the right direction towards a goal. Again, as they become more experienced with their work, they will be able to recognize for themselves when they are efficiently moving towards achieving their goals - essentially a form of self-praising. Interestingly, the book uses the analogy of bowling. It certainly wouldn’t feel great to hear the sound of you hitting pins with the ball, but not knowing how many you actually knocked down. These praisings are essentially a form of affirming how many pins you knocked down, and celebrating when you’ve done well.

One Minute Reprimands

One Minute Reprimands can be described by the following steps.

  1. Tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing and in no uncertain terms.
  2. Reprimand people immediately.
  3. Tell people what they did wrong — be specific.
  4. Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong — and in no uncertain terms.
  5. Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel.
  6. Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.
  7. Remind them how much you value them.
  8. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation.
  9. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.

A One Minute Reprimand is a quick and concise way to let someone know that they’ve done something that doesn’t match their expected behaviour. Behavious is very much the key word here: it is important to reprimand the behaviour, and not the person. You want them to understand that they did not accomplish what was expected of them, and that the reason those expectations exist is because you know that they have the ability to meet them, and that it does not reflect on who they are as a person. Once again, with enough experience people will begin to do this on their own for themselves.

These three techniques are deceptively deep topics, and probably require a lot of work to master. One Minute Management is applicable to a variety of fields as well (educators and teachers immediately come to mind), and can be used at all levels of the corporate ladder. I’m definitely looking forward to attempting to apply this in the near future, both in and out of the SSSC.

https://www.midmich.edu/application/files/7514/7759/5455/The-One-Minute-Manager.pdf

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