Are you a one-minute manager?

This post is among the series of posts about some of the leadership books which I have read and they have inspired me as a person and as a leader. In this post, I will share my thoughts and reflect on one of the classics and must-read books about leadership is “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. The original book was published in 1982 and it has sold about 15 million copies and has been translated into dozens of languages. Ken Blanchard is an American author, business consultant, and motivational speaker. He is known for the quote “None of us is as smart as all of us”.

Interestingly enough that the leadership style explained in the book is still relevant today, almost four decades after the book was originally published. I think it is evidence that the content of leadership (behaviors, actions, and practices) has not changed much with time compared to the context of leadership which has changed dramatically. In one of his YouTube videos, Ken Blanchard says that after all these years, the main message of the book is still the same and valid today and in the future: “The most effective way to lead people is to be a servant leader”.

The storyline of the book is about a young man who was looking for an effective manager to work for or to learn from and get inspired by. He has searched for many years and spoken with many managers in almost all business sectors. Some managers he met were autocratic managers (concerned about the results, not the people). Others were democratic managers (concerned only about the people but not much about the results). He did find few effective managers (concerned about the people as well as the results) but they didn’t want to share their secrets with him until he heard stories about a special manager who lived in a nearby town. He heard that people liked to work for this man and that they produced great results together. So, he decided to meet this manager and ask him about his secret.

One of my favorite gestures the authors made in this book is when the young man telephoned the special manager’s secretary for an appointment, she put him through immediately. And when he asked the manager when he could see him, the manager responded “Any time this week is fine. You pick the time.” The young man was fascinated and wondered what kind of manager had that kind of time available? I think this is one of the great lessons the book highlights. Being busy doesn’t always mean being productive.

When the young man met with the special manager, he learned about the three secrets of the manager’s success in getting big results from people, namely: one-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands. Basically, the process starts with establishing clear-cut goals. When evaluating results, good performance should be praised, and poor performance should be reprimanded when the performance fails to contribute to the attainment of commonly agreed goals.

Did you read this book? Please share your thoughts in the comment field below.

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