The One Minute Manager

Three secrets of “The One Minute Manager”

The first secret: one minute goals

There are three parts to managing people’s performance: planning, coaching, and evaluation. In so many organizations, managers spend all of their time in evaluation. If people do have goals, they are usually set at the beginning of the year and then filed away.

With that being said, managers need to keep goals front and center so people can look at them continually to see if their behavior is matching the goals. And if it isn’t, then change it.

Specific rules to follow:

  1. agree on goals
  2. agree on what good behaviors look like
  3. write down each goal within 250 words
  4. Take a minute to look at your performance once in a day or a week to see whether your behaviors match the goals

The second secret: one minute praisings

The power behind The One Minute Praising is caring. When you care about another person’s well-being, then take the time to notice when they’re doing something right and comment on it, people appreciate it. The key is to be honest. Don’t praise to flatter. Just take a moment to comment on something they have done that you value.

Right after someone did a great job, tell them that how good you feel because they did well in that specific instance. Be specific and immediate.

The third secret: one minute reprimands/re-directs

The difference between a reprimand and redirection is whether a person is a learner or not. A Reprimand is for when a person knows better than what they are doing. A Re-Direct is for a person who is a learner.

The first alternative for poor performance should be redirection, which means going back to goal setting trying to find out what went wrong and getting them back on track. Never reprimand or punish a learner which will immobilize them. If you are dealing with somebody who knows better, who as performed a similar task well in the past, then a One-Minute Reprimand might be appropriate.

Similar to the one minute praise, you should use it right after the mistake was made and be very specific. To show there are no hard feelings, include a note of appreciation in your criticism.

For example: “I’m sorry Shirley, but that company presentation was below par and didn’t present us in the right light. Promise me you’ll do better next time, okay? I know you can do better, you’re doing so well on organizing that workshop for our clients, keep up the good work there.” Let them know you think well of them but not of performance.

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About Tiffany Li

Software Engineer

Vancouver, Canada