Book Review: The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard

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The One Minute Manager is a classic book that has helped over 13 million people in the workplace. It teaches managers how to lead their employees effectively, without taking up too much time.

Managers are busy, so they need quick and efficient ways to motivate and manage their team. That’s where the one-minute management method comes in – it involves short interactions with employees that increase their happiness and productivity.

With just three simple tools, managers can boost productivity and transform their business. This review will give you an overview of what you can learn from this book. Let’s get started!

Key Insights

Lesson 1: Employee development is the key to top-notch performance for managers.

The main responsibility of a manager is to oversee and lead a company’s employees. A manager’s job is not just about managing finances or coming up with new products; it’s about ensuring that the employees are able to perform their duties effectively and efficiently.

Employees are a company’s most valuable asset, and investing in their training and development can lead to better financial results. 

Unfortunately, many companies neglect to invest in employee training, instead choosing to spend a large portion of their budget on salaries. This lack of attention to employee development should not be accepted.

Managers often fall into one of two camps: those who prioritize the well-being of their employees, even at the expense of the company’s performance, and those who prioritize performance above all else, even at the expense of their employees’ interests. This can lead to a decline in employee motivation and ultimately harm the company’s success. 

To find a balance between these two approaches, it’s important to manage employees in a way that makes them feel valued while also delivering high-quality results. One effective way to do this is by taking a minute to manage employees, which can save time and increase efficiency for the company.

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Lesson 2: Set one minute goals that your employees can quickly review.

In just one minute, what can you get done? Maybe you can take a quick drink of water or make a quick phone call. But did you know that a good manager can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time by setting one-minute goals? These are specific, measurable performance targets that can be written on one page. It may sound too good to be true, but it works. 

You and your employee can set goals that can be easily read in one minute or less – around 250 words or fewer. Both of you can keep a copy for reference.

To illustrate, let’s say you want someone on your sales team to set a one-minute goal. For example, the employee’s goal for the next quarter could be to increase sales by 5%. Tracking this goal should be simple.

What makes these goals effective? They motivate people.

In most companies, employees often don’t have clear responsibilities, so the only way they can gauge their own performance is by asking their managers. Unfortunately, many managers are critical of their performance and tend to focus on mistakes.

However, with one-minute goals, employees have specific targets to aim for and can track their own progress. This can boost their motivation.

It’s important to be selective when setting goals. Having too many goals can be overwhelming, especially if you set one goal per sheet. 

Instead, follow the 80-20 rule: an employee typically spends 80% of their time working towards just 20% of their goals. This means you only need to define 3-6 concrete achievements, or 20% of the goals, at most.

Lesson 3: How to compliment your employees for great work in just one minute.

As a manager, it’s important to remember that employees often only hear negative feedback when they make mistakes. This can be frustrating and demotivating for them. Instead, try to make a habit of praising your employees for a job well done. One minute of praise can go a long way in boosting morale and motivation.

To make your praise most effective, be specific and give it as soon after the action that prompted it as possible. For example, you might say, “Johnny, you did an excellent job on the presentation yesterday! It was very detailed and I’m really proud of you.” Depending on the situation and the employee, you could even add a physical gesture like a pat on the back to show your appreciation.

Giving employees praise for one minute shows that you value and appreciate them, as well as your expectations for their work. This is especially important for new hires, which is why managers should focus on finding something positive to comment on during their first weeks with the company.

To prevent employees from feeling like they are being “spied on,” it is important to let them know beforehand that their work will be reviewed.

But why does a one minute of praise work so well? It motivates employees to do even better next time because it shows that someone cares about their work.

 This concept is similar to how killer whales are trained to jump out of water in marine parks. They are given rewards for completing simple tasks, like swimming over a rope. As the whales complete these tasks and are given their reward, the rope is raised higher and higher. The whales wouldn’t have been able to jump over the rope if it had been raised too high from the beginning. Instead, they are able to achieve small successes and are praised for them, which helps them to eventually jump higher. 

Humans are no different – small successes and praise can lead to even greater achievements.

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Lesson 4: Show your employees you value them while reprimanding them.

It is important to both reprimand and praise employees for their performance. Reprimanding someone for a mistake only takes a minute, just as it takes only a minute to praise them. This is especially important for experienced employees, who understand the goals and expectations for their role.

If an employee makes a mistake or falls behind, it is important to address the issue with a brief reprimand. This can be done in the moment, immediately following the error or misbehavior. During the reprimand, it is helpful to clearly explain what went wrong and how it affected your role as their manager.

It is important to approach reprimands without any animosity or hard feelings. After addressing the issue, it is important to also praise the employee and remind them of their value to the team. 

For example, you could say, “Johnny, that was a sloppy and unpersuasive pitch. I am very disappointed in you. Nevertheless, you are still a very valuable employee, so keep working hard on your other projects.” This helps to maintain a positive and supportive work environment.

To prevent any negative emotions, it’s important to inform employees beforehand that you will be reviewing their work.

One-minute reprimands can be effective because employees feel that they are being treated fairly for any mistakes they make.

The reprimand happens right after the mistake, so there is no opportunity for resentment to build up. Everything is addressed immediately following the reprimand.

Additionally, the one-minute reprimand includes some praise, which helps to remind the employee of their value and keeps them motivated.

Family interventions for alcoholics often follow a similar approach: participants don’t just criticize the alcoholic for causing problems, but also express their love for the person.


1. Simplicity is Key

One of the things that people like the most about “The One Minute Manager” is its simplicity. The book does not overcomplicate things and presents its ideas in a straightforward manner. It is a quick read that can be consumed in one or two sittings, which makes it perfect for busy professionals who want to learn effective management techniques without dedicating too much time to it.

The concept of the one-minute manager is simple, but it is also very effective. It teaches leaders to catch their employees doing something right and to provide feedback promptly. This technique can help to boost employee morale and create a positive work environment. The book provides several examples of how this technique has helped organizations to achieve their goals.

2. Back to Basics

Another thing that people appreciate about “The One Minute Manager” is its focus on the basics. The book reminds us that effective management is not about complex theories or techniques but about fundamental principles like communication, motivation, and feedback. It is a back-to-basics approach that helps managers to focus on what really matters.

The book also emphasizes the importance of treating employees with respect and dignity. It encourages managers to look for the best in their employees and to provide positive reinforcement. This approach can help to create a more engaged and motivated workforce.

3. Actionable Takeaways

Finally, people like “The One Minute Manager” because it provides actionable takeaways that they can use in their daily lives. The book is full of practical tips and techniques that managers can implement right away. This makes it a valuable resource for anyone who wants to become a better leader.

The book’s focus on simplicity and back-to-basics approach means that the techniques presented in the book are easy to understand and apply. It also provides real-world examples of how these techniques have helped organizations to achieve success.


1. Overemphasis on the One Minute Goal

The One Minute Goal is one of the key concepts in “The One Minute Manager,” but some people feel that it is overemphasized in the book. While the One Minute Goal may work well for routine jobs, it may not be effective for more complex positions.

In addition, the book does not provide enough guidance on how to set One Minute Goals for more challenging tasks. For managers and executives, having a feel for what needs to be accomplished and the integrity to do it properly may be more important than setting One Minute Goals.

2. Idealistic Advice

“The One Minute Manager” presents an idealistic view of management, where managers are always positive and supportive, and employees are always receptive to feedback. However, in the real world, things are not always so straightforward.

Some people argue that the book does not provide enough advice on how to be a One Minute Employee when your manager is not a One Minute Manager. It may not always be possible to find employees doing things right, and criticism may be necessary at times.

3. Lack of Practical Application

While “The One Minute Manager” provides practical advice, some people feel that it lacks practical application. The book presents a formulaic approach to management that may not work for everyone.

In addition, the book’s folksy style and simplistic approach may not be enough to help managers navigate complex workplace situations. While the book provides some examples, more real-life examples may be necessary to make the advice more actionable.


“The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard is a management classic that has stood the test of time. This book’s effectiveness lies in its simple and practical approach to management, making it an easy-to-read guide for anyone who wants to improve their leadership skills.

It presents a clear and concise message that managers can quickly understand and apply in their daily work. Although the book has some criticisms, it remains a valuable resource for those seeking to improve their management abilities.

About The Author

Ken Blanchard is a business consultant, speaker, and bestselling author, as well as Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, which coach multinational giants like Shell and Merck. 

Spencer Johnson, MD, is the author of Who Moved My Cheese, a New York Times bestseller, and former Harvard Business School Leadership Fellow.

Buy The Book: The One Minute Manager

If you want to buy the book The One Minute Manager, you can get it from the following links:

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