Book Review: The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson
I got this book day before yesterday from the library at my internship workplace. As it was another book dealing with management and leadership, I delayed reading it until it was bed time. Expecting it to be too philosophically verbose and preaching a new theory, I sighed and picked it up to read. Thought if the book doesn’t turn out interesting, at least it would let me fall asleep. But I was proven wrong. This book is unlike any other book of its genre. It is written in a story format. Opening pages aroused such kind of curiosity that it made me jump straight into it and I couldn’t keep it down unless I had gobbled it up all.
The story begins with a young man searching out for an effective manager. His search leads him across the world and he keeps meeting managers who he categorizes into two types. – Autocratic who define themselves as hard-nosed, realistic, profit-minded and who like to be on top of every situation. And Democratic who define themselves as participative, supportive, considerate and humanistic. – Both the breeds pride themselves in their result minded focus and people oriented focus respectively and this bemused him. Why? Because the autocratic ones predictably had their companies prosper but also had higher turnover; while the democratic ones had happy employees around but company suffered. It was as if managers of the world were primarily interested either in results or in people.
The young man defined Effective Managers as those who manage themselves and the people they work with so that both the organization and the people profit from their presence. He was at loss since he couldn’t find them easily. He finally stumbles across one who is willing to share his secret. This one called himself the ONE MINUTE MANAGER and he was quite a character. The One Minute Manager listens while his people review and analyze what they’ve accomplished, the problems they had, and what still needs to be accomplished. Yet he doesn’t believe in participating in any of his people’s decision-making. He is neither results-oriented, nor people oriented. He cares about people and results equally. The man is an admired leader that is highly spoken of by his employees, his three secrets being the key to his success. These secrets to productive and efficient managing are revealed to the young man and they are as follows.
One Minute Goal Setting: The basic philosophy of the One Minute Goal Setting is no surprises; everyone knows what is expected from the beginning. This is what it says,
- Agree on your goals.
- See what good behaviour looks like.
- Write out each of your goals on a single page using less than 250 words.
- Read and re-read each goal, which takes only a minute or so each time.
- Take a minute every once in a while out of your day to look at your performance, and
- See whether or not your behavior matches your goal.
One Minute Praisings: Here basic aim is to help people reach their full potential. Catch them doing something right! It works when you,
- Tell people right from the start that you are going to let them know how they are doing.
- Praise them immediately.
- Tell people what exactly they did right – be specific.
- Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there.
- Stop for a moment of silence to let them feel how good you feel.
- Encourage them to do more of the same.
- Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization.
One Minute Reprimand: Main purpose here is to eliminate the behavior and keep the person. This consists of the reprimand and the reassurance, both being equally important. It will work well when you,
- Tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing an in no uncertain terms.
- Reprimand people immediately.
- Tell people what they did wrong – be specific.
- Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong – and in no uncertain terms.
- Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel.
- Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.
- Remind them how much you value them.
- Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation.
- Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.
The above three secrets are very powerful and practical but do read the book to understand how it’s implemented and why the techniques are so effective. Otherwise risk it being a failure. After I finished reading this book, I saw the time and it was not even my close to my actual sleeping time. So I guess time was well spent.
Book Review by Ankush R Agrawal
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