Want better one-on-one meetings? Follow this guide.
Written By Ann Ashley
When it comes to managing a team (or just one person!), consistent and open communication is the key to success. But in most cases, managers and their employees are simply too busy to touch base regularly—and that’s where the one-on-one comes in.
Meant to be productive, hour-long meetings with your direct reports, one-on-ones aren’t always successful. Why? If we don’t blow them off in the first place, we usually turn them into a free-for-all. Without structure, and a schedule we can stick to, one-on-ones aren’t exactly helpful. But it is possible for you and your employees to make the most of your time together. If better one-on-ones are what you’re after, follow the simple template below.
1. Make a schedule and stick to it.
While it’s easy to think you can just catch up with your direct reports here and there, it’s harder than it sounds—and it usually doesn’t happen. Work with your employees to determine a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule you can commit to, and do what it takes to show up. Just don’t be surprised when communication between you and your team improves drastically.
2. Structure your time.
Meetings come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s important to determine a style that works for you and your team. But, if you can create a clear structure and manage to it, you’ll find the conversation will stay on track and you’ll accomplish more. Try breaking up your hour like this:
- 20 Minutes: Their turn. Let your employee raise any questions, discuss what needs approved, etc.
- 20 Minutes: Your turn. Focus on any feedback you have for your employee, talk through any upcoming projects and raise any topics for discussion.
- 15 Minutes: Free time. Use this time to talk through any longer-term goals, concerns or issues together.
- 5 Minutes: Wrap up. State the personal responsibilities that surfaced from your conversation and make a plan to follow up with each other.
From supporting proactivity to defusing potentially destructive situations, one-on-ones are a tool for success—they ensure your team feels seen, heard and valued. And ultimately, engaged with you and their work.
If you’re interested in fostering an environment where employees are all in, attend our Culture of Engagement workshop and develop a plan of action tailored to your organization.