The One Minute Manager: Book Review

The first edition of the book “The One Minute Manager” was published in 1980 by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.  More than 13 million copies of  “The One Minute Manager” has been sold worldwide. The book has also been translated into more than   37 languages so far. Within its 112 pages, the book provides techniques for managers and everyone working in a team.

In this bookKenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson define three important secrets to promote efficient and productive management. All the history of “The One Minute Manager” revolves around a young man in a quest for the ideal management and leadership skills.  In fact, “The One Minute Manager” is the story of a young man looking for an effective manager who is both interested in the results of the company and its employees. After some unsuccessful searches, he meets the “One Minute Manager”, a manager of a firm, living in another town, and who has a good reputation for being a good leader and manager. He decided to go and meet this manager in order to learn from him.  The latter proposes to him to question his collaborators who will reveal 3 techniques to him to manage simply and effectively people.

This short story brings together much of what the two authors have learned, during their medical and psychological studies, about how individuals work better with other individuals. In other words, how people produce good results while feeling happy and comfortable in their organization and with their colleagues. In other words, how to work in an ideal environment? The book is a collection of what many “wise” people have taught them and what they have learned for themselves.

The authors put an emphasis on the importance of sources of wisdom. Because people working with a manager tend to consider him as a source of wisdom or a reference.  The authors also based their ideas on three main aspects of interpersonal and organizational skills such as goal setting and reprimanding.

The book begins with a fairytale introduction: ” Once there was a bright young man who was looking for an effective manager. He wanted to work for one. He wanted to become one “. In the search for his quest, two styles of management stand out:  The “autocratic” manager. This one has little consideration for the individuals and cares first of all about the results.  The “democratic” manager whose employees seemed to win while their organization was losing. The results do not necessarily follow.

It seemed that most managers were primarily interested in either outcomes or individuals. Our young man felt that these two types of managers were only partially effective. “It’s like being a half-manager,” he thought. Then he heard wonderful stories about a very special manager. He was told that people liked to work for this man and that together they produced good results. Was it possible?

“The One Minute Manager” does not give an accurate coverage on the mechanic of management; instead, the book gives many lessons regarding the interpersonal relationships and the psychology supporting job performance. In order to demonstrate their techniques, Blanchard and Spencer start with the idea that employees which are valued tend to be more productive. “The One Minute Manager “gives a lot of information that allows an individual to develop interpersonal relationship skills in the workplace and even in other aspects of life.

One Minute Goal

The first technique in the book deals with the creation of One Minute Goal, which implies that the manager establishes a meeting with employees to agree on the objectives, record the objectives in a brief statement and review them occasionally to ensure the productivity of employees. The One Minute Goal process lasts one minute, meaning that it should be short. However, it should last longer in practice. The most important objective of One Minute Goal is to make sure that employees apprehend the responsibilities in each assignment and also to help them understand that confusion can lead to discouragement and inefficiency.                                                                                                                      Basically, setting One Minute Goal involves giving an approval on the formulated goals, evaluating the features of good behavior, putting the goals on paper, reading and reviewing each of the goals, making a daily assessment of the performance, and checking if the observed behavior suits the formulated goal.


One Minute Praising

The second technique of “The One Minute Manager” is related to the use of One Minute Praising, which deals with maintaining high levels of openness with employees concerning their performance.                                                                                         One Minute Praising explains the idea that employees who feel good about themselves deliver good outcomes. It is really important for the manager to praise instantly employees when they do something rightly.
This is certainly one of the things most underestimated by managers: the importance of encouraging and congratulating the members of his team. Lack of recognition is the number one factor of loss of motivation in a team. What motivates people above all is to have echoes of their results.  Making a return as soon as possible on what is achieved, is, therefore, an extremely powerful ingredient to advance your team. Your goal as a manager should be to surprise people to do a good job and tell them. For example, if you train someone to do a new task, you have to surprise her, at first, doing something approximately right, until she learns to do it perfectly well.

One Minute Praising works better when the manager does the following:

– Make it clear to the person concerned that he will inform him or her of his reactions to his work

– Congratulate the person immediately

– Tell the person what he/she did well.

– Tell him/her how pleased he is with what he has done, how much it will help the organization and the other people who work there

– Observe a pause of silence to give him time to “feel” how happy he is

– Encourage the person to continue on this path

– Shake hands or touch them in a way that lets them know that they support their success in the organization.

We can say that the One Minute Praising thus contribute to the awakening of the potential of the individuals and to a strengthening of the use of this potential. The person knows what he has to do and receives congratulations as she reaches the goal.


One Minute Reprimand

The third technique, the One Minute Reprimand, is divided into two parts. First, the manager warns the employee that he will tell him clearly what he thinks of his work. If the goal has not been reached, the manager immediately reprimands the person by letting him see exactly where he was wrong. He tells the employee what he thinks of what he has done, then remains silent. The important thing is to act at the moment to have a greater impact on the person and be able to influence his future behavior. It is at this point that the manager goes on to the second part of the reprimand. He tells the collaborator that he is on his side and that he considers his person but not his behavior in this situation. The person knows that he has made mistakes or that she has not achieved the goal and that is why she is being reprimanded. The Manager Minute reminds him of what he did well to restore his own confidence in himself so that he wants to works harder to receive more compliments.  The One  Minute Reprimand does not attack the person but only reprimands his behavior.
The One Minute Reprimands work well when the manager does the following:


For the first part,
– Prevent the person concerned, in advance, that he will tell him what he thinks of his work, unequivocally

– Reprimand the person immediately

– Tell the person what she did wrong

– Tell the person what he thinks of what he  did

– Observe a moment of uncomfortable silence to make him feel what he feels

For the second part,
– Shake collaborator’s hand or touch him in a way that makes he knows that he is on the same side as him

– Remind the collaborator how much you appreciate him

– Reaffirm that you consider his person, but not his behavior in this situation

– Remember that reprimands are over

Critical Analysis

This book contains the essentials of management. It is a fantastic tool for beginning managers and entrepreneurs. The management of people is very problematic and yet “The One Minute Manager ” provides us with simple and concrete keys to apply. The diagrams and summaries present throughout the work help to have a clear and precise vision of the behavior that a “The Minute Manager ” must take to produce excellent results. It is a vast subject and the book collects only a small part, but I think it is very useful to see management in a different way. It shows how important it is to invest in people in order to win on all fronts.

Of course, this book has some limitation in terms of how broadly it can be applied. In addition, people trying to apply the techniques in the book will tend to fear failure. From my point of view, failure is part of the learning process and learning from our past failures is a good way to improve ourselves. I also fear that “The One Minute Manager” by making use of this techniques will seek to control the mind of its employees.

However, it is obvious that there are many things to understand in management. It is an extremely complex science because it affects the human being, which is very complex. Obviously, this book does not pretend to explain everything about management. But, its mission is just to give you some simple, practical tools, very easy to implement in your company, or elsewhere to effectively manage the people who are under your responsibility whether employees or not.

If you just created your business, it is that you intend to hire. If you are an entrepreneur who will hire for the first time, if you work in an association where you have people to motivate because they are under your responsibility, if you are in this situation where you are going to have to motivate the people who are under your responsibility, and you have no experience, this book will give you the few tools that will help you get started and you will see that they are really very simple. Read it, it will really change your life.



Blanchard, K., & Spencer, J. (2005). The One Minute Manager. HarperCollins: New York, NY.



Alexandre Koffi

Entrepreneur, space enthusiast, dreamer, cosmic messenger.

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