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?

Continue reading

When you SHOULD be a Micromanager

The label “micromanager” is dangerous… but not for the reason you might think!

Over time, I have developed a negative opinion of the word “micromanager” or “micromanage”.  But the potential danger and toxicity of this word actually lead me to a different conclusion than you might think…

micromanaging boss1

typical micromanager…

I’m guessing that in almost all workplaces, Managers at all levels are deathly afraid of the label “micromanager”.  That word has become so negative – a flaming arrow to shoot at your boss, calling them “a micromanager”.  Nothing stings more.

Therein lies the problem: sometimes the actions which we label as “micromanaging” can help an employee improve their skills and performance.  In other words, micromanaging is exactly what a manager should do.

What a minute.

Am I saying that a Manager should, at times, be a ‘micromanager’?

Yes. Absolutely.

That’s exactly what I’m saying. Continue reading

Leadership in a ‘Road Closed’ sign?

You might not expect the process of moving from one house to another to bring an epiphany about leadership, but that’s exactly what happened to me.

In 2013, we purchased a house that is right across the street from my old one. Logistically, it was a really interesting challenge. How much should we box up, or not box up? Should we even rent a moving truck? It is right across the street.

We decided to cart our belongings to our new house, but traffic concerned us. As a solution, we requested – and received – a permit from the city to close down a section of the street and reroute cars. On the day of the move, we put up two “road closed” signs, facing opposite directions. Further up the street, we placed detour signs to clarify the new/temporary route; I thought this would be enough to deter traffic. It wasn’t.

road closed

While we were moving, several cars drove around the signs. This happened many, many times.  As one vehicle slowly approached the “road closed” sign I stopped the car politely to talk with the people inside. I explained we’d blocked the road off for a few hours so we could move our stuff across the street. They nodded and the driver turned his car around to look for another route.

Then it occurred to me the only reason people weren’t paying attention to the traffic signs is because they didn’t understand why they were there. They didn’t see a gaping hole in the road or any construction workers, so they thought “there’s no apparent danger… no need to obey this sign.  I think I’ll just drive around it”.

As leaders, what can we learn from this experience?

Continue reading