Reprimanding people when they have got something wrong or failed to live up to their own standards is one of the hardest things a manager can do.

We use this method to get the most out of the children at my martial arts school ( It works really well, I even use this method on my son.

Here’s Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson’s nine tips for carrying out what they call the One Minute Reprimand.

1. 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:

2. Reprimand people immediately.

3. Tell people what they did wrong – be specific.

4. Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong – and in no uncertain terms.

5. Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel.

The second half of the reprimand: 6. Shake hands or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side. (Editor’s Note: Not so sure about that. Touching is open to misinterpretation. Some people will see it as an invasion of their personal space, or worse. Use your discretion).

7. Remind them how much you value them.

8. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation.

9. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.

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Source: SOURCE: The One Minute Manager, by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Ken Blanchard, also the author of Raving Fans, is talking at both our European and North American Conferences on Customer Management in 2005 (busy man). More details on our Home Page Spencer Johnson, also the author of Who Moved My Cheese, is talking at Leaders in London 2005.


  1. Peter Hagerty on September 23, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Hi Andy

    I haven’t tried this method. It sounds pretty good and I do something a little similiar but I suspect this method will be an improvement.



    • andy on September 23, 2009 at 9:37 pm

      Thanks for the comment Peter. Yes give it a try, I get really good results.


  2. Diana on September 23, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    hmmm might be a welcome relief from the nagging mum syndrome! Thanks, looking forward to giving it a try.



    • andy on September 24, 2009 at 4:54 am

      That’s great Diana, see how it goes…Andy

  3. Selma on September 23, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    Hi Andy,

    I think this is a great way of going about it but it is missing an important point. Quite often we ourselves are unsure about what the problem really is. Our judgement is at times clouded by subconscious fear, anxiety, insecurity, fear of the unknown or just “the general pace of life”. This makes it harder for us to tell others what the problem is in “no uncertain terms” – I really like this expression “no uncertain terms” because once you know that your reprimand is valid objectively its always easier to express yourself well. Its important to let go of the initial urge to have your 2 cents and go away to deconstruct your thought process. One really good tool in looking at the matter objectively is to detach from the situation i.e. “I am me, and it is it”.

  4. andy on September 24, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Thanks Selma, I guess it’s just another way of communicating the needs of the situation. Maybe you can add what is useful and discard what is not. This is just one of many tools that may or may not suit every situation…works well with kids though.


  5. Kai on January 2, 2010 at 8:01 am

    This is an excellent guide.

    An important side-note is that for this to be effective, the recipient must have respect for the person doing the reprimanding. Respect of course, must come from leading by example and having a reputation for honesty and integrity.

    Without respect, all teaching is futile. But for those who can command respect, this is truly effective stuff.

  6. Pat M on April 10, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Hi, I liked the idea you were sharing in the other blog. I had to check it out. Reprimanding is always difficult and sometimes hurts others feelings. But it is a necessity. Nice post.

    I’m starting my own blog, so keep in touch. I have not posted yet. Should be up and running around April 15th. Starting off with bullying.

    • andy on April 11, 2010 at 6:25 am

      Thanks Pat, look forward to reading your blogs.