The One-Minute Manager Book Summary, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Download "The One-Minute Manager Book Summary, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson" as PDF

The One-Minute Manager is a guide for managers looking to empower their employees and teach them to succeed in their jobs, with minimal direct guidance. As the title suggests, most of what we consider “management” takes one minute or less. One-minute managers build their employees up by defining success through short one-minute goals and performance standards; providing immediate and direct positive feedback through one-minute praisings; and offering constructive criticism aimed at correcting behavior through one-minute redirects. This management style motivates employees and gives them the confidence and skills to become stewards and champions of their own success.

1-Page Summary of The One-Minute Manager

_The New One-Minute Manager _is a guide that teaches managers how to get the most out of their employees. After all, the essence of management is getting results out of an organization’s most important asset: its people. One-minute managers are those who recognize that productivity is a function of both quality and quantity: you need to get good results, and quickly.

They do this by empowering employees and giving them the motivation to do well on their own. One-minute managers do not tell people what to do: they help them realize on their own what they need to do.

New one-minute managers get great results from people by using three simple, but effective management techniques:

  • Goal Setting: makes clear what is important to focus on, and provides a way to measure performance
  • Praising: gives employees confidence that they’re doing well and meeting goals
  • Redirects: holds employees accountable for lower performance and gets the employee back on track to meeting goals

One-Minute Goal Setting

This entails having employees set a 250-word goal for each new task. It puts managers and employees on the same page. The manager knows what the employee is supposed to achieve, while the employee knows what to do without needing constant direction and input.

How They Work

The manager and the employee sit down together to come up with task-specific goals, each readable in one minute or less. These are specific, measurable goals with deadlines, where success is clearly defined. The employee then emails the goals to the manager so they can always be checked for reference and follows up with regular progress reports.

Why They Work

These are effective because they define what constitutes success and promote accountability for achieving specific results. They work because employees are motivated when they have a clear idea of exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. In an ever-changing business world, managers don’t have the time to micromanage their employees. One-minute goals empower employees to be self-starters and stewards of their own success.

One-Minute Praising

New one-minute managers deliver immediate and thoughtful praise when an employee does something well.

How They Work

The key to a one-minute praising is that it be immediate. The manager has to be on the lookout for good behavior and praise it in real time. Instead of looking to catch their employees doing something wrong, one-minute managers make a conscious effort to catch their employees doing something right.

Good one-minute praisings are specific and consistent, and the manager must explain _why _the employee’s success has contributed to organizational goals. The manager then encourages the employee to do more of the same and reiterates that they are pushing for the employee to succeed.

Why They Work

Employees gain the confidence to achieve bigger goals later on when they receive quick praise for small accomplishments when they’re just starting out. They are also able to link their positive performance with the praising, because the praising is immediate and focused on a specific achievement. Contrast this approach with that of managers who deliver vague and dilatory positive feedback: the employee doesn’t know _what _they did right and therefore won’t be able to replicate it. One-minute praisings are also highly motivating for employees, as they begin catching _themselves _doing things right.

One-Minute Redirects

Managers deliver quick, specific, and consistent redirects when an employee who ought to know better makes a mistake.

How They Work

One-minute redirects must be linked to the defined goals above: you can’t hold people accountable for not doing things they weren’t told they needed to do.

Redirects happen in two parts. In the first part, the manager clearly conveys that they are disappointed in the employee because they failed to achieve a specific goal or meet a specific deadline. They also need to demonstrate to the employee why their mistake hurts the organization as a whole. This needs to immediately follow the mistake and it needs to be specific _to _that mistake.The goal is to help people learn from errors so they don’t repeat them: this won’t happen if the redirect is vague and scattershot.

In the second part, the manager pauses and then reminds the employee that they still think highly of them _overall _and that the _behavior _is being critiqued, not the person. Lastly, when the redirect is over, it’s over. The manager bears no lingering ill will and treats the employee no differently than before, as long as the mistake isn’t repeated.

Why They Work

Employees don’t feel mistreated and don’t view you as an enemy. They’re being criticized for a behavior they can improve, not for a personality flaw that they can’t change.

Employees also appreciate the honesty and openness. **They’re being held accountable _immediately _following a mistake, instead of being blindsided by it months later at a performance review **(as so many managers choose to do). The redirects give the employee an opportunity to improve right away and they offer negative feedback at a manageable volume: piecemeal, as it happens, instead of all-at-once.

Full Summary of The One-Minute Manager

Shortform Introduction

The book is written in the form of a narrative fable. In this story, a young man visits the new one minute manager and learns from him the three secrets of successful one-minute management. We later learn that he applies these principles in his own life and career to great effect, becoming a one-minute manager himself. In this summary, we leave out this narrative framing device to focus solely on the principles, since the plot doesn’t add much beyond conversation around the principles.

Also, this is primarily a summary of The New One-Minute Manager, the updated and revised version of the or…

—End of Preview—

Read the rest of the “The One-Minute Manager” summary at my new book summary product, Shortform.

Here’s what you’ll find in the full The One-Minute Manager summary:

I’ve been building Shortform for the past year. It’s the book summary product I always wanted for myself. I was never satisfied with the summaries from what was on the market, and so I built Shortform for myself and readers like you. If you like my book summaries, you’ll love Shortform.

Shortform has the world’s best summaries of nonfiction books and articles. Even better, it helps you remember what you read, so you can make your life better. What’s special about Shortform:

  • The world’s highest quality book summaries—comprehensive, concise, and everything you need to know
  • Broad library: 1000+ books and articles across 21 genres
  • Interactive exercises that teach you to apply what you’ve learned
  • Audio narrations so you can learn on the go
  • Discussion communities—get the best advice from other readers

Sound like what you’ve been looking for? Sign up for a 5-day free trial here.

The One-Minute Manager Book Summary, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Enjoy this summary?

Subscribe to get my next book summary in your email.

Want to get smarter, faster?

Subscribe to my newsletter to get free book summaries and startup notes.