The New One Minute Manager suggests that the third One Minute Secret, the One Minute Reprimand, was a relic of its time. I’ve mused over this before: why do we treat employees like China dolls that can break if handled too harshly? I’ve used the One Minute Reprimand as written here for years and so far no one has led a revolt against my leadership.
Sometimes, we need to call a spade a spade and let an employee know that what they did was wrong and in no uncertain terms spell it out for them.
If you’d rather take the kinder, more collaborative approach, I’d recommend picking up a copy of The New One Minute Manager. It is an excellent book and, as I’ve said, this series changed my life. I finally learned how to manage people by reading the original. Anyway, check below the fold for how the secret works:
First, let’s examine what goes into a One Minute Reprimand:
The One Minute Reprimand works well when you:
- Tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing and in no uncertain terms.
The first half of the reprimand:
- 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.
The second half of the reprimand:
- Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.
- Remind them of how much you value them.
- Reaffirm 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 two tricks that most managers have yet to master are communicating in no uncertain terms, and ending the reprimand. Setting yourself apart from your fellow managers is child’s play if you will only stop beating around the bush and tell your employees what you really think. I had a tough time with this one.
When an employee messes up, most of the time it isn’t malicious on his end. He was trying to do the right thing, but he didn’t. Knowing that his motives were pure, it becomes difficult for you, as his manager, to tell him that he’s screwed up.
But you’re doing your employee a great disservice. Most people assume that “No News = Good News.” What that means is that your employee, hearing nothing from you, assumes that he actually did the right thing. He will continue making the same mistake, over and over, because he thinks that it is the right thing to do.
You have to end the cycle before it begins, the first time you see the mistake. If you let it go, or if you tell the employee that he messed up in nebulous terms (as many managers do), you are depriving your employee of a chance to grow professionally.
The second secret to a good reprimand is to know when the reprimand is over. Most managers have no idea when to end a reprimand, and continue the reprimand for a long time–up to six months later, believe it or not.
Think just for a minute about that. How demoralizing is it to an employee who is trying his best, messes up once, then works well for a month, only to have a mistake thrown in his face after he had gotten over it? Would you like it if your boss brought up something you did three months prior–a mistake you thought you had atoned for already?
Once the reprimand is over, it should be over. Don’t bring it up again, not during that work day, not a few months later. Just let it lay and trust that one reprimand was enough.
The rest of the One Minute Reprimand points are easy. A good fast food manager will set himself apart from the crowd if he only masters those two little points: being specific in no uncertain terms, and knowing when to end the reprimand.