Sunday, January 4, 2015

Book Review: One Minute Manager

The One Minute Manager Anniversary Ed: The World's Most Popular Management MethodThe One Minute Manager: The World's Most Popular Management Method by Kenneth H. Blanchard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such a simple idea - those who supervise others see great success if they apply tried and true principles to their management tasks.  Meet people where they are. Care for and about them. Be clear when delivering instruction. Focus on what they are doing well.  When you have to correct a behavior, be specific, do it right away, and follow up with something positive.  Easy peasy.

These methods have been proven to bring results.  Why, then, are there so many truly horrible managers everywhere? 

One of the myths busted by this simple little book is the idea that one size fits all in management - that fairness requires everyone to be treated exactly the same.  No one is ever given extra time, or an additional bit of instruction. Each person is rewarded and punished like everyone else, whether that is motivating to them or not.  And heaven forbid if someone on the team needs a bit of accommodation... we'll just holler louder.  But that simply does not work.  Some people don't respond well to anger.  Some really hate to be recognized publicly.  Some people want to be told exactly how to do something. Others want to understand the goal, and figure the method out on their own.

The truth is that managers need to invest a little bit of themselves into every person whose work they oversee. It turns out that is easily done.  It only takes a minute.  One minute to establish work goals with someone.  One minute to catch them doing something well (or, during the training phase, almost well) and offer them sincere praise and positive feedback. One minute to explain to someone what mistake they have made and develop a solution.  One minute.

I see why this one was on the bestseller list for so long... short, concise and compelling.  The fable is lame, of course, totally forced and silly, but who cares?  It still delivers the learning in an easy-to-digest form that is more pleasant to read than a journal article of the same length. The authors - whom we know well from their numerous other works - posit that good managers follow these three basic strategies, one minute goal setting, one minute praisings, and one minute reprimands. Meet people where they are. 

My hope is that anyone who finds themselves supervising the work of others will find an hour to read this and apply the techniques. Many other books came from this one and I will post reviews and summaries in the next few months because I think the series is hugely important. My short summary for this one is paired with a summary of Leadership and the One Minute Manager.  Download them for free by clicking here.   

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