The 3 Kinds of Managers: Tough, Nice, and One-Minute

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The One-Minute Manager" by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How does Ken Blanchard describe the three kinds of managers? What sets a one-minute manager apart from nice and tough managers?

In his book The New One-Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard discusses the three kinds of managers: tough, nice, and one-minute managers. One-minute managers instill confidence in their employees and are experts at time management.

Keep reading to learn more about the three kinds of managers.

The Different Kinds of Managers

The New One-Minute Manager is all about how to use effective management to get the most out of the people in your organization. The people you manage are the organization’s most valuable asset: they’re the ones who do all of the day-to-day work that enables your organization’s prosperity and success.

Thus, good managers are those who know how to motivate people to produce positive results for the organization.

Most managers fall into one of these two kinds of managers: tough and nice.

“Tough” Managers 

Managers who care only about the organization. These are autocrats who treat their employees as mere cogs in a machine: they give orders, expect them to be followed, and don’t train their employees to make decisions on their own. For these bosses, you’re only as good as the numbers you produce.

“Nice” Managers

Managers who only care only about people. They are overly concerned about their employees’ feelings and insufficiently focused on achieving results. These managers don’t hold their people accountable for poor performance. This hurts the organization and deprives employees of the opportunity to learn and grow from mistakes.

One-Minute Managers

One-minute managers care about both results and people. These are not competing aims: they are complementary.

They instill confidence in their employees, because they know that confident people produce results. Therefore, helping people feel good about themselves is the key to getting things done, both quickly and effectively. They understand that they must tap into the skills and talents of everyone in the organization to achieve results. Talent does not reside only in the executive office.

Productivity = Quality x Quantity

One-minute managers are also time-management experts. As their name would suggest, most of the techniques they use can take as little as one minute. In today’s interconnected, fast-moving world, your organization needs to be adaptive. It’s not enough to just do good work: you have to produce it quickly and efficiently. Productivity is a function of both quality and quantity.

The 3 Kinds of Managers: Tough, Nice, and One-Minute

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  • How to empower your employees and teach them to succeed
  • Why immediate and direct feedback is the most effective
  • How to offer constructive criticism to correct behavior

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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