ONE of the best-selling business books of all time is The One Minute Manager, in which authors Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson use a parable-style story to describe the plight of a young manager who is finding success elusive.

However, he hears about a successful manager who is so effective that he has time to spare. The young manager calls him up to find out what he can learn, and the successful One Minute Manager shares with him three secrets to his success, which every manager can apply and get similar results:

1. One-minute goal setting

All good performance begins with a clear statement of what good behaviour looks like, so here is where the One Minute Manager begins. He has his people write out their goals in 250 words or less and focus on good behaviour. Then he encourages people to revisit their goals every week and see how closely their behaviour matches the goal.

2. One-minute praise

One-minute praise is the way that the One Minute Manager catches people doing things right or approximately right. Soon after he observes the behaviour, he tells the person what they specifically did right and how it makes him feel.

He encourages them to continue their good behaviour and then shakes hands to reinforce the positive behaviour and how good he feels about it.

3. One-minute reprimands

One-minute reprimands are used to correct and redirect behaviour. When the One Minute Manager observes someone doing something wrong, he will tell him specifically what he is doing incorrectly.

He will also tell the person how it makes him feel, and then redirect him back to the one-minute goal description of what good behaviour looks like.

Before ending the conversation, the One Minute Manager will encourage the person to do better by focusing on correcting his behaviour in the future and letting him know that he can do it.

Then they shake hands so that the One Minute Manager can reinforce the self-worth of the person receiving the reprimand. This puts the focus on the behaviour and not the person. 

These are simple and easy-to-use basic management skills, yet many managers don’t use them. Like any other skill, it takes practice in the beginning. Once you use these skills regularly, they become second-nature.

If you are not using the One Minute Manager’s secrets, try them out and see how you can make them work for yourself and your team. If you do them well, you too can become an effective One Minute Manager.