The one minute manager

Since you are reading this post, you might be wondering: how can I take my people management skills to the next level?

Or you might be interested in knowing more about The One Minute Manager, a people management book from Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

I got to know about The One Minute Manager book when I had no clue about what to expect from this book.

In 2007, I started working with a mid-sized Software Development and Internet Marketing Company led by an American CEO.  He was a great coach and very good with training people.

Since I was hired to head their Product Development Division, soon after my joining, I was “given” the One Minute Manager Book to learn people management from and take my people management skill to the next level.

I received The One Minute Manager Book with the following handwritten remarks from the CEO:

Utpal,

It is great to have you on the team!

I look forward to many productive years of working together.

Enjoy the book and even more important, be the best manager your team can ever have!

Ok, we did not work together for many years, just one – but that’s another story. For now, here is what I did with the book:

I read it. I understood it a little and started acting according to the guidelines and principles offered in the book. It helped. In the last 5 years, almost everyone with whom I worked conveyed that working with me was an enjoyable ride for them.

So, here’s to the ones who want to take their people management skills to the next level.


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Years changed and my thinking got transformed from managing people to leading people. However, this book still is relevant and offers a good foundation when you need to get things done by putting in management principles in action.

In a purely results-oriented work environment, this books helps to produce relevant results in less time. Here is a quick perspective:

  1. Set goals: praise and reprimand behaviors; encourage people.
  2. Speak the truth: laugh; work; enjoy…
  3. and encourage the people you work with to do the same as you do!

Have you read this book? How did you find it? Were you able to leverage the principles outlined in the book? Share it in the comments.

Or you think you should read this book? Here’s the link from where you can buy the One Minute Manager book.

Note: This post was originally published on 9th Oct 2008. This is refined to provide better context and to include the One Minute Manager presentation that I use to make the managers working in my team better people managers.

Be specific

Observe the conversation below:

“When I say that Jack is the Module Lead and anything that goes right or wrong in the module, Jack is responsible, I’d like to know how you acknowledge it, Jack?”

Jack replied: “It means that I’m the Module Lead and anything that I code or test is my responsibility. For the items I couldn’t have a look, the person who has written the code, is responsible.”

“Vikram?” I asked Jack’s peer.

“It means that Jack should do most of the coding and testing within the module.”

“Peter?”  Finally, I asked Jack’s reporting manager.

“It means that we should tell Jack about anything that happens inside that module. After all he is the module lead. ”

I hear what you guys say. Now, let me ask you this: How should I communicate if I mean that Jack owns the module. That’s why he’s the lead. He owns good and bad things that happen inside the module. If it succeeds, all credit goes to him and if it fails, he bears all the consequences of the failure. How?

“You might say that Jack is the Module lead and anything that goes right or wrong in the module, Jack is responsible.” said Peter and Jack together.

“I hear what you say…” I said.

People respond to their own images of the past rather than the facts represented by the words. Recognize that “Not being specific” is a bigger problem than having mere skills to write the software code.

Reward whom who are able to be specific and reprimand who are not.