Manager to Leader in One Minute


Photo credit: ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY

I just finished reading One Minute Manager. Deceptively simple, and measurably effective, the secrets of one-minute management will help you boost profits, productivity, and purpose immediately. 

I wanted to share the management principles that spoke to me and might speak to you as well. I give those to you now and highly recommend that you get the book. But if you only have a minute, read this instead.


In today’s workforce, you need to be both result and people-focused manager.

Good leaders don’t make decisions for others. 

Set up weekly meetings to listen to your team goals and help facilitate prioritization and decision making instead of achieving that through direct participation.

Goal setting

Set goals together with your team. Focus on one important goal that will get 80% of the progress. Ensure your team’s behavior aligns with this goal or encourage them to correct and win. This makes it clear to everyone what they and others are accountable for and what good performance looks like.

Praising

Catch them doing something approximately right and give them feedback when they do. It shows that you know what they’re working on and doing it right. Make them feel that you’ve confidence in them and invest in their success. 

Stay consistent in providing feedback. Don’t wait for the year-long focal review cycle. Consider this analogy of teaching a child, like “say a glass of water”. First, they say “waller” then you praise and hug them. Eventually, they say water. Then you focus on teaching other words.

Redirect

How to respond when an employee makes a mistake or does something wrong. Remember, Pain + Reflection = Progress. 

First, confirm if the goal was set correctly. If it’s not, take full responsibility and clarify the goal. Otherwise, provide the redirect in two parts. 
1. Focus on the mistake, talk about its impact and what went wrong. 
2. Then pause for a few seconds. 
3. Focus on the employee and remind him or her that they’re better than their mistake. And you don’t expect a repeat of the mistake and looking forward to working with him. Say that you have confidence and trust in her. 

This way, the feedback is received and people don’t take it defensively. People feel better for themselves and it boosts their confidence to do greater things in the future.

Hiring

Hire winners. They are hard to find and expensive. If that’s not possible, hire who have the potential to be a winner and develop them.

Communication

When a team’s commitment to achieving the goal is high, it’s best to emphasize the work that’s remaining. But when the team’s commitment is low, it’s better to emphasize the progress made thus far.

In the early days of team formation, the team will have less conflict, use that time to build a strong connection, values and setting the vision. These are later helpful in better decision making, avoid conflicts.

We always remember the beginning and end of the project. It’s the midpoint where we need to focus and retain or build momentum.

Challenge and autonomy

Your team will stay and do the best of their work if they are challenged and have the autonomy to execute. You need both for best performance and retention.

Other Notable Takeaways:

  • If you are tough first and then supportive afterward, you will have a better performing team. Tough on the poor performance and not the person.
  • Most managers keep track of all mistakes and get frustrated. They should instead give feedback as and when they happen. Performance review should be an ongoing process.
  • Most companies spend a lot more money in salaries and so little investment in developing their people.
  • When you assume your people know what they are aiming for, it creates more unmotivated people. Number one motivator for people is the feedback on how they are going. Most people don’t know what they were doing until the yearly performance review.
  • People are productive when they feel good about themselves. But productivity is both quantity and quality of work. Writing more code doesn’t mean you’re more productive.

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