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David Fein Reviews the One Minute Manager Series

By May 5, 2022May 11th, 2022David Fein

The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson is a series of books I highly recommend for anyone looking for a solid set of principles to manage people.

People management can be challenging and is something many of us have not been formally trained to do. This often means it’s reactive because we don’t have a management process or system, managers learn as they go and lean on gut instincts. This is risky since managing people well is extremely important to the health and longevity of every business.

Simple and Easy Read

The One Minute Manager Series is the perfect solution for any manager who wants to be a better manager and improve their staff’s performance thereby simplifying their lives. Offering bite-sized chunks of valuable information on how to manage effectively, create high-performing teams, and delegating to get results are just some of the areas covered by the series. I highly recommend these titles in particular:

  1. The One Minute Manager

At around 80-pages, the first book in the series is a parable about a young man who is studying leadership and management. He speaks to many managers but none of them inspire him until he meets the One Minute Manager. The book is subtitled ‘the world’s most popular way to manage your life and work’, it offers simple tips on how to manage yourself and others focusing on these key areas:

  • One-minute goal: how to set employee goals that you can review in a minute.
  • One-minute praise: how to give your employees positive feedback for great work.
  • One-minute reprimand: how to redirect ineffective performance while still valuing employees.
  1. Leadership and The One MinuteManager written by Ken Blanchard in conjunction with Patricia and Drea Zigarmi

This book focuses on situational leadership with the story following an entrepreneur who wants to learn how to be a better manager because she is having a hard time finding people who are willing to work as hard as she does. The One Minute Manager walks her through leadership styles, showing her what situational leadership is, and introduces her to the three skills a situational leader needs:

  • Goal setting: Setting clear goals
  • Diagnosis: Diagnose the development levels of the people you work with on their goals, tasks, or in certain situations.
  • Matching: Learn to use a variety of leadership styles to provide individuals with the support they need.
  1. The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Kenneth H. Blanchard and William Oncken Jr. 

This step-by-step guide to assigning and delegating will show you how to free yourself from doing everyone else’s job by allocating responsibility according to who the correct person is for the task. In the book, Blanchard uses the analogy of a ‘monkey’ where a monkey represents an objective or a task. He says that for every ‘Monkey’ there are two people involved. One person will do the task and another will supervise. He then offers these four rules to become a better manager of time, energy, and talent:

  • Rule 1: describe the Monkey – outline the task or objective and next moves.
  • Rule 2: assign the monkey – when assigning tasks, choose the most appropriate person to complete the task. They have the most knowledge and therefore can help with figuring out the next steps and carrying them out.
  • Rule 3: managing the monkey – once the monkey has been identified and allocated so it’s ‘on the back of one of your staff’, you’ll either need to give recommendations before they start working or send them out to start on their own and then come back to you if they need further guidance. Choosing the best option will depend on the monkey and the level of the person who is carrying it.
  • Rule 4: check on the monkey – making sure you check in to ensure the task is being done correctly and giving guidance when needed.

The One Minute Manager’s principles are extremely easy to understand, implement and teach. No matter which book you choose, the One Minute Manager series has something for everyone wanting to improve their management skills and improve the performance of everyone on the team.