The way of the one minute manager
There are three secrets of or elements to one minute management:
- Agree on goals (no more than half a dozen) with staff members. Make sure that each goal is written on a separate piece of paper. This is “one minute goal setting.” From this point on staff know exactly what is expected of them and will rarely come to the boss with problems—they know they are hired to solve them.
- Staff should reread the goals frequently as a means of ensuring that performance matches expectations. They should also provide detailed records of progress for the managers. This is not so that the manager can breathe down their neck, but so that he or she can “catch them doing something right.” This allows for “one minute praisings,” which provide immediate and specific positive feedback on actions undertaken.
- If a person has the skills to do something right and it is not done right, the manager will provide a “one minute reprimand.” This stern rebuke is of the action or behavior, not the person, and the manager will express consternation that it is not up to the staff member’s usual high standards. After the reprimand, the manager reminds the person how much they are valued.
One minute goal setting works because “the number one motivator of people is feedback on results.” We like to know how we are doing, and if we are doing well we feel good. The one minute manager has a plaque on the wall reading: “Take a minute—Look at your goals— Look at your performance—See if your behavior matches your goals.” Simple but effective.
Managing to lead
The very simplicity of one minute management will deem it suspect in some people’s eyes, yet it is little more than the application of efficiency to workplace interpersonal relations. The philosophy of “taking very little time to get big results” comes from a nuts-and-bolts appreciation of human nature.
The story’s one minute manager admits that management cannot always be performed in a minute. It is more a symbol of the idea that managing people can be much less complicated than we think. There’s no need for endless sessions to discuss objectives and problems. Some time needs to be invested in establishing goals, but after that the contact between boss and subordinate can be minimal.
In a nutshell
Clarity about goals saves a huge amount of energy that can be deployed productively in other areas.