The One Minute Manager

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The One Minute Manager
The One Minute Manager.jpg
CountryUnited States
GenreBusiness / Self-help / Motivational
PublisherWilliam Morrow & Co
Publication date

The One Minute Manager is a short book by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. The brief volume tells a story, recounting three techniques of an effective manager: one minute goals, one minute praisings, and one minute reprimands. Each of these takes only a minute but is purportedly of lasting benefit.[1] Shortly after publication the book became a New York Times bestseller.[2] The One Minute Manager has sold 15 million copies and been translated into 47 languages.[3]


If you were the manager of a company and given a minute, what would you do? In the story The One Minute Manager, describe a motivated young man is trying to find an effective manager. But after several searches, the results were always empty and disappointing. One day, he heard about a manager known as The One Minute Manager, and he visited the "one-minute manager" with suspicion, and finally realized that the true meaning of management comes from three secrets:[4]

Secret type Narrative
One minute goals If you want to achieve great results for an organization, the first step is to set clear goals and tasks. Communicating these tasks, benchmarks, and results to an organization's employees is the most critical component of leading an organization in the right direction. 99% of problems in organizations are preventable, as long as the communication between the manager and staff is honest, open, and early. Keeping in mind the 80/20 principle (80 percent of the result are driven by 20 percent of the tasks), every staff member should have his/her responsibilities and consequences established upfront and discussed until both parties understand their responsibilities. Each of these goals should be less than 250 words and can be read daily within one minute. This gives them of sense of ownership and knows that they are trusted. Once both parties have a good understanding of what is expected and what the results should look like, it should be recorded on no more than a single page. From then on, the staff member knows what is expected of them and will rarely come to the manager with problems – they know they are hired to solve the organizational problems.
One minute praisings Most managers will wait for the annual or quarterly performance review to , there will be too many target tasks to come up with details to solve at this point. Managers will set a part of the goals for employees to continuously manage performance and provide regular feedback. This is not to micromanage staff members, but so he or she can catch them when they're doing something right and recognize them for it. After praising the staff, take a slight pause to let the compliment sink in and give the person pat on the back or give them a hand to congratulate them on doing such a great job.
One minute reprimands (One minute redirect) On the opposite end of praise, organizations also have reprimands(redirect). Just as organizations are taking a few moments to praise, but the reprimands (redirect) happens at about the same time instead of longer. This is important because the staff may begin to think they have more shortcomings than strengths, and that will never end well. During the 'one minute redirect,' we want to catch unproductive or negative behavior immediately, and explain to the employee the consequences and to emphasize the issue with the work, not the person.

Note: A problem always has a solution. If organizations can't identify the solution, then don't waste time talking about the "problems". Don't tell someone what they're doing wrong until organizations can tell them what they should be doing right.


The book was followed by a sequel, Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership II, by Ken Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi and Drea Zigarmi, which laid out Blanchard's SLII concept.[5]

New Edition[edit]

An updated edition of the book, The New One Minute Manager, was published in 2015.[6] In the new edition, the third technique, the one minute reprimand, was changed to the one minute redirect.


Criticism and controversies[edit]

The concept has been called a management fad, and derivative of management by objectives, itself derived from the business planning literature.[7] One critic called it "the executive equivalent of paper-training your dog".[8]In 2001 the Wall Street Journal ran an article noting that The One Minute Manager bore a resemblance to an article written by Blanchard's former colleague, Arthur Elliot Carlisle.[9][10] Carlisle's allegations of plagiarism were never proven.


The One Minute Manager has been widely praised for its universal appeal and for reducing esoteric management theory into simple, actionable techniques.[11][12] Time magazine cited it as one of the 25 Most Influential Business Management Books.[13]


  1. ^ Book review Archived 2011-01-01 at the Wayback Machine by Eric Spamer, Bruin Leaders Project, UCLA
  2. ^ "BEST SELLERS (Published 1982)". The New York Times. 1982-10-03. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  3. ^ egallant (2019-04-17). "Chief Spiritual Officer". UMass Magazine. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  4. ^ "The One Minute Manager Summary". Retrieved 2022-06-07.
  5. ^ Kenneth H. Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi, and Drea Zigarmi. Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness through Situational Leadership. New York: Morrow, 1985.
  6. ^ Blanchard and Johnson. The New One Minute Manager. ISBN 0062367544.
  7. ^ Miller, Danny; Hartwick, Jon (October 2002). "Spotting Management Fads" (PDF). Harvard Business Review: 27. PMID 12389458. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  8. ^ Jackson, S. (January 20, 1986). "Management lingo: how to read between the lines". Business Week: 58., in Graeff, Claude L. (1997). "Evolution of Situational Leadership Theory: A Critical Review" (PDF). Leadership Quarterly. JAI Press, Inc. 8 (2): 156–157. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
  9. ^ Ober, Scot (2002). Business Communication (5 ed.). Houghton Mifflin College Division. p. 435. ISBN 0618343296.
  10. ^ The Liars' Club Archived 2018-04-29 at the Wayback Machine by Jon Entine, San Francisco Chronicle
  11. ^ "Top 50 Best Selling Management Books of All Time". Top Management Degrees. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  12. ^ Summaries, Soundview Executive Book (2020-12-10). "The 25 Best Leadership Books of All-Time". Soundview Magazine. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  13. ^ "The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books - TIME". Retrieved 2021-03-03.

External links[edit]