The 1-Minute Manager: Summary Review & Takeaways

This is a summary review of The 1-Minute Manager containing key details about the book.

What is The 1-Minute Manager About?

The One Minute Manager is intended to remind each of us to take a minute out of our day to look into the faces of the people we manage. It shares three primary one-minute techniques of an effective manager: one-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands.

Free Resource: A step-by-step blueprint to realize your dreams

Who is the Author of The 1-Minute Manager?

Kenneth Hartley Blanchard is a bestselling author, business consultant, and motivational speaker.

Patrick Spencer Johnson is an American physician. He was known for the ValueTales series of children's books and his 1998 self-help book Who Moved My Cheese?, which recurred on the New York Times Bestseller list.

What are the main summary points of The 1-Minute Manager?

Here are some key summary points from the book:

  • Effectiveness is a function of both quality and quantity: generally speaking, you want to achieve quality results in less time and micromanage others as little as possible.
  • To become an effective manager, you want to adopt a management style that motivates success through:
  • One-minute goals, where you clarify what is important to focus on and define measurable performance standards
  • One-minute praisings, where you provide immediate positive feedback and give assurance that direction is right
  • One-minute reprimands, where you hold others accountable and offer constructive criticism aimed at transforming their behavior
  • Rather than one yearly review at the end of the year, you want to set specific, measurable goals with deadlines, and provide day-to-day coaching (as needed) in order to help achieve those goals. The goal-setting must be done together to ensure you're both in alignment and in agreement.
  • One-Minute Goals are important as they define more clearly what constitutes success, put everyone on the same page, and enable accountability for results.
  • One-Minute Praisings need to be consistent and specific. This means expressing not only a thank-you, but also specifying the specific impact on the overall operation.
  • Praisings help with elevating the confidence necessary for achieving bigger things down the road. The more specific you are, the more people can understand what they did right and thus be able to replicate it.
  • One-Minute Reprimands also need to be consistent and specific. The aim is to assist people in learning from failure, errors, and mistakes, so that they don’t repeat them.
  • One-Minute Reprimands also need to be constructive and respectful. It’s important to remind people that their behavior is being critiqued, not who they are.
  • There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses. Look and ask for commitment. Don’t employ people who are merely interested. Employ the ones who are truly committed.
  • To become a better manager, you will need to determine your team member’s development level and the corresponding leadership style needed to move them to the next development level.
  • Once you evaluate your team member’s development level, you will need to be able to change your leadership style based on your evaluation and the situation.
  • You want to look at two factors to determine a person’s development level: competence and commitment. Anytime a team member is not performing well without your direction, it is usually a competence problem, a commitment problem, or both.
  • Competence is a function of knowledge and skills; it can be gained through learning and experience. Commitment is a combination of self-confidence and enthusiasm for doing the task.
  • The four combinations of competence and commitment make up the four stages of development levels:
  • D1- The Enthusiastic Beginner: You are eager to learn, excited and curious (high commitment); however, you are inexperienced (low competence).
  • D2- The Disillusioned Learner: You have acquired some experience (low-some competence), but haven’t made as much progress as expected. You could become frustrated and may even be ready to abandon the task or goal (low commitment).
  • D3- Capable but Cautious Contributor: You have demonstrated moderate to high competence, but your commitment is variable. You may be self-critical, unsure, bored, or simply have low interest in the project or task.
  • D4- Self-Reliant Achiever: You have both high competence and commitment, you are confident and self-motivated. You need opportunities for growth and impact, but you don’t need much direction or support.
  • Once you establish the development level, your next step is to decide on the appropriate leadership style. There are four styles:
  • S1- Directing (for the Enthusiastic Beginner):You provide high directive behaviour and low supportive behaviour. You take the decisions and provide specific directions — what, when, where, and how — about goals and tasks, and then monitor the person’s performance in order to provide feedback as needed.
  • S2- Coaching (for the Disillusioned Learner): You provide high directive behaviour and high supportive behaviour. You direct the tasks, explain why, solicit suggestions, and start your journey to encourage involvement in decision-making.
  • S3- Supporting (for the Capable but Cautious Contributor): You provide low directive behaviour and high supportive behaviour. You make decisions together. You support the person’s efforts, listen to suggestions, empower, facilitate, and ask good questions to elevate his or her confidence.
  • S4- Delegating (for the Self-Reliant Achiever):You provide low directive behavior with low supportive behavior. The self-reliant achiever makes most decisions about what, how, and when. You express how much you value the person’s contributions and keep supporting his or her growth.
  • If your team member is at development stage one, you use leadership strategy one. If he or she is at stage two, you use leadership strategy two, etc. The goal, generally speaking, is to move everyone to D4 (Self-Reliant Achiever — High Commitment, High Competence).
  • Great managers…
  • Know how to motivate and inspire people to produce desired results. They know it’s their responsibility as well.
  • Instill confidence with those they work with. They care not only about results but also about people.
  • Make less decisions for others but instead guide them to make decisions for themselves. They empower others to take more responsibility and manage themselves.

What are key takeaways from The 1-Minute Manager?

Lesson #1. Invest in Your Working Relationships

What does a manager’s job boil down to? Developing new products? Selling? Controlling the finances? The correct answer is in the job title—to manage team members. After all, a business's success depends on the work of its workers (think about it: will you get high-quality products if those you work with are delivering low-quality work?). Therefore, business owners should consider the people they work with as their most important asset and ensure that their operation can maximize their potential. Sadly, the reality is that 70% of a company's budget is usually spent on salaries with 1% or less going to training.

The problem is that there are generally two types of managers: those who care so much about employee welfare that they sacrifice the business's performance to keep team members happy; and, on the flip side of the coin, those managers who only care about company performance, who are never happy, who are always telling those they work with that they need to do more or do better.

Ideally, you want to be the manager in the middle of these 2 extremes—one who delivers high-quality results but still has team members who feel good about going into work each day.

Lesson #2. Set Goals That Can Be Reviewed in 1 Minute

You might think that 1 minute is only long enough to leave a voicemail or fire off a quick email reply, but time-conserving managers know that they can do a lot in a minute. It all starts with defining 1 minute team member goals that are outlined on a single piece of paper and have measurable performance metrics.

1 minute team member goals work like this: You and your team member agree on concrete goals which can be written down in 250 words or less; this ensures reading time is kept to a minute or less for both the team member and you, the manager. You both keep copies for easy reference. An example might be: “For the next quarter, your goal is to increase sales by 5%.”

As well as being easy to understand and easy to monitor, 1 minute goals such as the above motivate people. You need to be careful not to set too many goals, though, as this defeats the whole point; remember the 80/20 rule and stick to having between 3-6 goals at any one time per person.

Lesson #3. Give Praise and Positive Feedback in One Minute

It’s rare that workers receive positive feedback; managers usually only pull a worker to one side when they have negative feedback to impart. This is due to managers usually only noticing when something goes wrong, which leaves team members feeling like they never make their manager happy.

With 1 minute team member goals implemented, managers can easily see where workers are hitting targets and can apply the 1 minute praise tool at the most effective moment—right after a worker has warranted the praise. Praise and positive feedback can be as simple as: “Alex, you did really great on yesterday’s presentation. The detail was superb. I’m proud to have you working for me.” Praise such as this shows workers that they are noticed, valued, and appreciated and encourages them to try even harder next time.

Managers want to remember, however, that workers are like whales… Think of killer whales that are trained to jump out of the water at marine parks. They are trained slowly, step-by-step, with the bar raised a little higher each time. So at first, the whale might just poke its head out of the water, but with continued work and reward, they will eventually jump out of the pool for the crowd. Workers are much the same: give praise for the small accomplishments at first before gradually raising the bar higher and higher.

Free Resource: Over 1000 smart goal ideas to inspire your life

Lesson #4. The One Minute Reprimand

The seasoned 1 minute manager uses 1 minute to praise someone but also applies the 1 minute rule when reprimanding an experienced team member. Just as with the 1 minute praise, the 1 minute reprimand should come right after the mistake (so that hostility doesn’t fester) and should explain what went wrong and how you feel. But there should be no hard feelings afterwards, so include a bit of praise even if it’s something like: “I know you and I know you can do better than this next time.” This way, those you work with know they are still valued despite their mistakes.

You might say, “Andy, that sales pitch this morning was really quite sloppy and unpersuasive. I’m disappointed in you, but I know you can do better. You’re a valued member of the team here, so keep up the good work on your other projects and don’t let this happen again.”

Team members feel that their mistakes are being treated fairly when reprimands are delivered like the above example and with the added praise, they remember their own worth and maintain their motivation to go above and beyond next time.

Book details

  • Print length: 111 Pages
  • Audiobook: 1 hr and 27 mins
  • Genre: Business, Leadership, Nonfiction

What are the chapters in The 1-Minute Manager?

The Search
The One Minute Manager
The First Secret: One Minute Goals
One Minute Goals: Summary
The Second Secret: One Minute Praisings
One Minute Praisings: Summary
The Appraisal
The Third Secret: One Minute Reprimands
One Minute Reprimands: Summary
The One Minute Manager Explains
Why One Minute Goals Work
Why One Minute Praisings Work
Why One Minute Reprimands Work
The New One Minute Manager
A Gift to Yourself
A Gift to Others
About the Authors

What are good quotes from The 1-Minute Manager?

“Take a minute: look at your goals, look at your performance, see if your behavior matches your goals.” (Meaning)

― Ken Blanchard, The One Minute Manager Quotes

* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways

Reading is Smart. Applying is Smarter:  Apply

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

Actualize Your Potential
Get my simplified process for realizing dreams (The exact process that enabled me to achieve 100 life goals in 10 years)
Access my Start With WHY workbook for free, designed to guide you toward your purpose and the person you are meant to become
Align With Your Why
Accelerate Your Growth
Get actionable insights, book recommendations, and wisdom you can apply — No hype, No fluff, 100% free.

Read The Art of Fully Living

There's no going back-once you embark on the journey you're meant to live, it's impossible to settle for anything less than your dreams.

Click here to learn more

Elevate Your Achievement

Learn a better and smarter approach to setting and achieving goals. It's not just about what you want to achieve, but who you must become in the process.

Click here to learn more
Take The Free Test
Discover your areas for growth in just 5 minutes. Take the FREE self-evaluation test and pinpoint where to focus your efforts

Elevate To Mastery

Access a 21-day roadmap that turns big goals into realities, complete with daily study guides, actionable steps, and proven practices from the world's best minds
Elevate Society
Thanks for reading. It makes a difference. A portion of all proceeds from our online university supports thousands of entrepreneurs in the developing world via
View Impact