The One Minute Manager – A New Leader’s Story

by Jennifer Miller on May 7, 2015

in Book Review, Leadership

One Min Manager quote people produce good resultsIn 1984, as a college senior, I was employed by my university as an Assistant Residence Hall Director (AD). It was the first job in which I had a staff that (dotted line) reported to me. During the day, everyone answered to the full time Residence Hall Director. On the evenings and weekends, I rotated shifts with two other AD’s overseeing fellow students who were Resident Advisors (RAs).

In the fall of that year, a few days before the RA’s arrived for their training, our Hall Director Marilyn gather the three AD’s in a room and told us, “I’m excited to be working with you this year. You are a talented group of individuals and it’s wonderful to have you as part of my management team.” It was the first time anyone had every acknowledged me as a leader and it was heady stuff. I felt a mixture of emotions: excited, proud, scared, disbelieving. And then Marilyn handed us a copy of The One Minute Manager.

I remember Marilyn talking about the “Three Secrets” and how we could help guide our staff members via brief exchanges.  She said that this book was easy to read, but contained very important messages about managing people. Marilyn focused mostly on the “praise” section of the book, a wise choice given that we were leading a group of peers.

This week, Harper Collins Publishers released an updated version of this international bestseller, titled The New One Minute Manager®.  Authors Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson have tweaked their Three Secrets to better fit the realities of today’s workplace. As I read the new version, what occurred to me is this: even though so much has changed in the workplace in the three decades since the book’s introduction, a remarkable amount of the book’s content is still the same—and still relevant. That’s because technology comes and goes but the human experience is constant.  As Blanchard and Spencer write, people who feel good about themselves produce good results, and this book helps remind leaders of this basic fact of humanity.

I will always be grateful to the book The One Minute Manager, not only because of the concepts contained therein, but also because its arrival in my world signaled the start of my leadership journey. Some accuse this book of being simplistic, but I disagree. It’s very simple, that’s true. But after 30 years in the workforce, I’ve realized that simple is better. This book won’t help you navigate complex strategic leadership issues, or give you a series of charts and supporting academic research, but it will help ground you in the most important concept of leadership:

one minute quote_best minute I spend

And if you don’t buy that message, then you’re in the wrong line of work.

Curious about how The New One Minute Manager differs from the original One Minute Manager? Read this guest post by Ken Blanchard on The People Equation.

Free Book Giveaway

Tell me something!  Have you read the original One Minute Manager? If you have, what valuable message did you glean? If you haven’t read it, what would you like to know? I’ve received permission to give away an “Advanced Reader’s Edition” of this book. Leave a comment here on the blog by 5:00 PM (eastern time) Friday, May 15, 2015 and I’ll do a random drawing and notify the winner by email. **Technical note: I’m having some challenges with reader comments displaying properly. Don’t worry if you can’t see your comments; they are displaying to me in the administrative panel of my blog.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review. Also, some of the links are affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive compensation. This doesn’t increase the price of your item and I only review books that I believe my readers will benefit from.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jennifer Miller May 12, 2015 at 8:15 am

Hello, Dave! SO glad to see a former colleague here on The People Equation. Thanks for your comment. Having worked with you before, I know you live your mantra.

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