Top-down management doesn’t always work, you may need to change your style

November 07, 2019 · 4 min read
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“Your job is to show people how to manage themselves and enjoy it. You want them to succeed when you’re not around.” – Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson

After getting out there to meet potential customers, creating new products, sealing deals, and pitching ideas to push the company’s growth, the last thing any business person wants to worry about is how to effectively manage people and bring the best out of them.

Employees play an important role in helping a company achieve its goals and so it is the duty of the manager to help employees maximise their potentials as well as produce great results.

Either as a line/overall manager or a staff, at some point in your career, you’ve managed or been managed by someone. The responsibility of a manager isn’t always easy and ensuring everything is running effortlessly can often be a challenge.

Therefore, if a manager doesn’t effectively manage employees by teaching them how to lead — make them feel good about their work — the organisation and other people they work with, it is possible that the company might not grow exponentially.

Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, in their book The New One Minute Manager — the revised version of The One Minute Manager — say that effective leadership is more of a side-by-side relationship. The book aims to remind managers to take a minute out of their busy day to focus on what really matters in business — the employees.

The New One Minute Manager tells a simple story of a smart, young man, who has been searching for a great manager to work with and learn from. The unnamed young man finally finds that manager, who is known as the “New One Minute Manager.”

By interviewing the One Minute Manager and his co-workers, the young man discovers the secrets of how he effectively manages people in one minute — which is what makes him a One Minute Manager.

In the book, first published in 1982, Ken and Spencer share lessons on how to manage and lead people without them being overly dependent on their managers. Here are the three One-Minute secrets that can help both managers and employees.

One-Minute Goal

“Setting one-minute goals is the beginning of One Minute Management…”

In some organisations, most people get into trouble with their managers for not doing a job they didn’t know was their responsibility, probably as a result of lack of communication. Like a New One Minute Manager, there is a need to work with employees to clarify their responsibilities and hold them accountable for it.

The manager works with them to help develop their concisely written out goals — usually not more than a paragraph or two — set due dates, and make sure they meet the company’s standard.

This makes it easy for employees to refer to them often and stay focused on important tasks. A one-minute goal can be achieved by:

  • Imploring employees to review the most important goal for each day
  • Asking them to evaluate themselves to see if their behaviour matches their set goals
  • Helping them to reassess what they are doing so they can achieve their goals on time.

One Minute Praise

“Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps.”

Imagine a team in the marketing and sales department of an organisation sealing a million-dollar deal the company has been pursuing for a while. While every other staff is excited about the company’s progress, the team doesn’t get even a pat on the back for a job well done. Undoubtedly, the team will feel terrible because of the lack of recognition and accolades.

In the book, Ken and Spencer advised that a new one minute manager should praise people as soon as they reach a goal and let them know what they specifically did right. Additionally, as a manager, you should inspire employees to do more, make it clear that you have confidence in them, and celebrate their successes.

One Minute Redirects

“Praising people doesn’t always work if it isn’t combined with redirects to correct mistakes when they occur.”

It is almost inevitable that employees would go wrong once in a while. It’s just like being an expert in perfectly delivering crates of eggs to a long-distance without dropping any, but tripping one day and breaking some eggs. Definitely, the person who owns the crates of eggs will be displeased.

Like a new one minute manager, it is expected that you correct the person involved without making them lose self-esteem. Review the mistake together to identify the root cause, come up with a solution, and express how you feel about it.

The essence of a redirect is to build confidence in people, to help them reach their full potential, and get better results.

A one minute redirect can be achieved by following these simple rules when the mistake is made:

  • Allow employees to feel concerned about their mistakes for the first minute
  • Remind them that they are not their mistake and that you think well of them
  • Let them know they have your confidence and support.

The New One Minute Manager is a 95-page book filled with lessons on how to help employees get better results, have more time, and empower them to be more efficient and fulfilled. It is highly recommended for business owners and managers.

Have you read the book? Fill us in on the lessons you learned.

Omolara Oseni

Omolara Oseni


Woman in Tech | I write about social media and internet culture | Photography enthusiast.

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