The One Minute Manager

“The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.” – Ken Blanchard


Lessons learnt: Set goals and check if your behaviour matches it. Catch someone doing something right. Be specific in your reprimands.


Managing people can be overwhelming. Sometimes you are faced with questions about motivation. At other times you are asked to give a critique. And in the end, it may all be an overwhelming experience. The One Minute Manager is the perfect book for the starting manager. It features simple lessons, sticks with one story and does not bother with difficult explanations or hefty theoretical basis. At the same time this is its weakness and for further lessons in leadership please consult some other classics like The Effective Executive.

The story in The One Minute Manager follows a man who wants to work for (and eventually become) a great manager. In the second chapter, we meet this man. He is quick with his words, does not repeat himself and seems to have it all figured it out. At the end of the meeting between the two characters, he corrects the visitor one last time. When thanked for giving him answers he replies “I did not, you solved it yourself. I just asked questions”. In fact, here lies the first lesson of the book, enable other people to think, to take command and become less reliant on you.

In the book three things are discussed: 1) goals, 2) praisings, and 3) reprimands. Here is a summary of the lessons on praising:

  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

There are 4 more points, but I leave it to you to go and read those. As with more management books, the lessons may seem generic and too simplistic. At the same time, I believe that more people do not exhibit behaviour that reflects these lessons and that mastering them will be hard – for any executive.


“Take a minute: look at your goals, look at your performance, see if your behavior matches your goals.” – Ken Blanchard


After the one or two hours, it takes you to read the book, you are left 50% satisfied. As with the ‘questions’ mentioned above, the book does not tell you how to go about and implement the lessons mentioned. Of course, we can think for ourselves and it is up to you to go and become an effective executive.