Guide to Truly Effective One-on-One Meetings

Many say an occasional “one-on-one” (aka 1:1) with your employees will build your relationship with them and help you get to know them better.  You may have thought of this practice as a “nice thing” to do when possible…

I think 1:1 meetings are SO much more important than that.  These meetings, when held consistently, can become a fundamental building block to build trust, and achieve more together at work.

These meetings can be an important part of your work, but are a vital part of your employees’ work (their engagement and development).

 It is very possible, even likely, that these 1:1 meetings are more important to your employee than they are to you.  

Think about that for a minute…

Here are my  tips for 1:1s, and some good resources I have used & shared:

Clarify the “rules of the game”

  • Don’t assume  basic details.  Almost everyone will have a different view of these meetings.  The most important part is that you two understand together what they mean.
  • Questions to clarify:  What is the purpose of these meetings?  When will they be held? Who will schedule the meeting?  How often?  Who decides the agenda topics? What might those topics include?

It might take some time to find the just the right fit.  Keep doing it.  Keep holding these meetings, even if they aren’t perfect.  Stick with it, and put forth effort to making them beneficial for your employee.  You will build trust over time.  They will feel a difference, and it will matter to them.

Be present.

  • First, show up.  Keep your appointments.  If you need to re-schedule, that’s fine – but don’t let it slip altogether.  (Nothing erodes trust faster.  I’ve seen it.)
  • Second, be engaged.  When you meet, let them know through your words and your actions that they have your attention.  They matter to you.  It’s a powerful message to send.  Listen.

Follow up.

  • If follow-up is needed/required/appropriate – do it!
  • If you say you’ll do something – do it!

Remember what is said!  Even small things that seem insignificant can be valuable – details of their personal life or a favorite something, etc.  Demonstrating that you were present and paying attention will go a long way.  You will certainly notice a difference.  Trust will increase.  Loyalty will deepen.  Work performance and results will follow.

Leadership is about people.  One-on-one meetings are the best way to connect with those you lead.

What about you?  What have you seen/done to help 1:1s be truly effective for both sides?

Comment below!


Additional Resources

Templates for 1:1s:

  1. Michael Nichols – Free PDF template and guide download.
  2. Manager-tools.com – PDF download of One-on-One Basics

Some additional resources/guidance on 1:1s:

One thought on “Guide to Truly Effective One-on-One Meetings

  1. Pingback: The Key to a Successful Salary Increase Conversation | Real. Simple. Leadership.

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