“The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.”
Every manager wonders “How do I get more out of my people?” Every workers at times has wondered “Am I doing a good job? What is the boss thinking?” The One Minute Reprimand and its partner the One Minute Praise provide the framework for communicating to your employees’ desired future behavior. Below we will discuss the strengths of the One Minute Reprimand, the weakness, and minor tweaks and application for my situation.
The One Minute Reprimand contains nine steps:
- Tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing and in no uncertain terms
- Reprimand people immediately
- Tell people what they did wrong – be specific
- Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong – and in no uncertain terms
- Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel
- Shake hands or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side
- Remind them how much you value them
- Reaffirm them that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation
- Realize that when the reprimand is over it’s over
The One Minute Reprimand stands as a strong feedback model. Often managers don’t give out feedback which leaves the employee wondering in the dark about what is expected. The necessity of feedback is echoed in the book “12: The Elements of Great Managing.” Four of the four of the foundations essentials in that book rest on feedback.
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
Several elements of the One Minute Reprimand weave a strong message to the employee. First, the employee knows up front the manager will be giving feedback. No secrets. The manager communicates beforehand I care about you and your behavior so I will be communicating how I feel. Second, the feedback is given immediately. I can personally appreciate this because I have been victim of an “ambush review.” Early in the year I made a mistake and the boss waited 9 months to tell me. I left the review demotivated and upset that she would take that long to help correct me. I never want to do that to my employee. Another strength is the specific nature of the reprimand that focuses on behavior and not the person. This is what you did, this is the result, and I know you can do better. The last strength is the reaffirming at the end. The manager communicates that the behavior is the issue, not the person.
Now I am not here to suggest that I could come up with a better system than the One Minute Reprimand but I think telling people about how you feel about the issue will not work for several types of personalities. Some people will do what they want despite what the boss thinks. They had their reasons and they will do what they feel is best no matter what anyone else says. Other people care about getting things right and your feelings matter little to their internal fear of being wrong. There is a podcast I listen to that suggests we use people’s natural personality types to offer feedback to get better results. They offer free podcasts and you can listen to their ideas here https://www.manager-tools.com/2006/02/improve-your-feedback. They use the DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness) model and tailor feedback to get to the driving behavior of a person. This is too much content for this review, so I will just give a personal example. I am an S or Steadiness person. If my boss came to me and said “You did not turn in the report on time and this makes work difficult for me and for Jim. If you keep this up Jim will not like you” I would respond to that. A Dominance personality type cares little about Jim’s work and doesn’t need Jim to like him so explaining how it makes Jim feel would not be effective. However, if the boss said to the D personality “You were late which makes people disrespect you and you will be look like a failure” would motivate them.
The above example is a tweak to improve effectiveness. After that I would say don’t forget the relationship outside of the Praise and Reprimands. Make sure you have your weekly meetings to discuss goals. This communicates so much value to the employee. My boss is a busy person, but he takes 30 minutes or an hour or whatever is best to develop me. The feedback works best in the context of a good relationship.
To apply the One Minute Reprimand in my situation I would need to lay some groundwork:
- Introduce the change of management in a team meeting
- Set up regular 1:1 with my directs 3-6 weeks
- Start praising people 4-6 weeks
- Start with reprimanding my best people 4 weeks
- Start reprimanding everyone
You can ask me about the delay in starting reprimanding if you want. There are people who say you need to build up the relationship (1:1) before starting new feedback models because without the relationship those feedback methods can feel manipulative.
Notes from the Book “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson