Book Review: One Minute Manager

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For my day job, I am a consultant. I work on several software implementation projects with various clients. I don’t have any direct reports nor am I expected to manage any other employees.

I work on a couple of other projects where I am responsible for organizing and coordinating efforts of various friends and compatriots. But even in these cases, our relationship is less managerial and more cooperative (mostly because we’re all working for free right now and can walk away whenever we want anyways).

Why do I tell you this? Why the deep dive into my professional relationships? Because I recently read The One Minute Manager, a short book that uses an allegorical tale to explore a better way of managing your employees.

And I’m about to apply it to my life.

Too often, I find myself focusing on the “personal” part of personal management. I find it all too easy to downplay my successes and fret over my failures.  I find myself revisiting all the ways I could have done better and find it way too hard to celebrate my little victories throughout the day.

If I have to be honest with myself, I’m a terrible boss (to me)!

If my manager at work treated me this way, I would have quit long ago. Unfortunately, I have found it difficult to disassociate myself from the occupation of being me. So, I have to turn to alternative and extreme methods for alleviating the situation. I have to become a better (self) manager.

Enter, The One Minute Manager.

In this story, our main character wants to learn how to best manage people. In his travels, he hears of a Manager who uses a simple approach to achieve incredible results. It’s so simple, it can all be done in One Minute! In interviewing this fictional person and his employees, he (and we) learn the three key components of the One Minute Manager:

  • One Minute Goals – short objective-oriented goals written on a single piece of paper each<
  • One Minute Praisings – an intentional act whereby the Manager seeks out and acknowledges the good that the employee has accomplished
  • One Minute Reprimands – an intentional act whereby the Manager corrects wrong action while also reassuring the individual of their value as a person and as an asset to the company

I read this book a couple of weeks ago and here’s what stuck with me:

One Minute Goals are really Operational Goals

While not explicitly stated, the example of a good One Minute Goal in the book was about HOW a person should do their job. It wasn’t some aspirational goal of what they wanted to get out of the job, but rather the intentional approach they wanted to nurture and develop in how they approached their daily tasks.

Personally, I spend so much time on my mental “dream board” (i.e. the things that I want to achieve/get out of life) that I forget to focus on how I’m going to get there. We don’t get out of the Rat Race by dreaming of the bigger board; we get there by changing how and where we run.

Not to mention that any goal setting is a nice boost to my Spiritual Energy through the Mana Matrix input of Goals.

One Minute Praisings are about teaching the employee to value themselves

I think we all recognize the value of Praising good work, whether we are acknowledging our own or someone else’s good work. However, I think we also recognize that such acknowledgements are really easy and frequent at the outset of an endeavor and become less regular over time.

There seem to be two key elements in overcoming this tendency:

  1. Clearly defining what justifies a Praising
  1. Allowing the Employee to ask for one if they deserve it

The first element ensures that both the Manager and the Employee know what they are looking for (which makes it easier to find!) The second empowers the Employee to internalize and seek out their own good (which means less work for the Manager!)

When we’re both the Manager AND the Employee, I see this as a powerful way to celebrate success. And not just the big successes, but the little ones that are still important enough to meet our own threshold for being Praise-worthy!

How great would it be to make personal Praisings a regular part of one’s day! It would be a constant and consistent boost to my Emotional Mana and Spiritual Energy through the Mana Matrix Inputs of Self-Valuation and Confidence.

One Minute Reprimands are constructively corrective

On the flip side of the coin, One Minute Reprimands appear designed to specifically correct an action for the express purpose of improving the employee. Yes, they did something wrong that needs to be addressed. But this starts from the standpoint of the employee being a valuable asset and building their Confidence in assuring them that they can fix it, rather than a problem that needs to be fixed.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I spend far too much time seeing myself as a problem that needs to be fixed and far too little time seeing myself as an asset that ought to be developed.

And that’s the theme of this entire book: seeing employees as assets to be developed. I think it’s incredibly powerful to think of ourselves in that way. Many of us aren’t where we want to be and have dreams and personal visions that are yet unfulfilled. But we don’t have to see ourselves as something wrong or broken, just because we’ve made mistakes. Rather, we are valuable assets and we can grow that value!

That’s a story I can get behind!

See you at the finish line!

-The Jack of Spades

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