Originally posted on uptickapp.com.
So you’ve decided it’s time to start doing one-on-one meetings with your team.
But before you dive in, there are some things you need to consider to make sure you maximize the time and effort.
Just like a good conversation, the best one-on-one meetings are a collaborative effort and go beneath the surface. It’s far too easy to sit down, crack open the laptop (to monitor your internal chat and email), and then just give status updates on the work.
This is not the one-on-one meeting you OR your team member wants.
I had been doing one on ones for years, because I thought that’s what leaders should do. It was a noble thought, but my execution was all wrong.
I didn’t realize the problem until one of my most productive staff members was feeling lost and requested a regular, weekly one on one. It started me thinking…what does she want from the meeting? What do I want from the meeting?
Since you and the person you’re meeting with need to come prepared, it’s best to have a conversation about what you both want to get out of the time together.
So where should you start?
I know that sounds super obvious. But clarifying expectations will save you hours of frustration and will help you build trust with your team member. If you know what their goals are for the meeting, you have a much better chance of having a mutually satisfying one on one.
Here are some things to listen for:
It’s been my experience that the first answer someone gives me isn’t always the real answer. They might think it is, but if you drill a little deeper you might find they have a different motivation for connecting. If you simply take notes and move on you might never get to the core issues.
When they give you their first answer, follow up with questions like:
After you have listened thoroughly and intently to your employee it’s time to share with them your goals and expectations. But don’t jump in on those too early. I’ve found if I let someone share everything on their mind I’ll have the opportunity to share whatever I want. So be patient.
Here are some reasons I’ve shared for why I want one on one meetings:
Now that all the cards are on the table, talk about how you can both have your needs met. In our company we use our app, which gives us a structure for the one on one meeting. Within that structure, however, there is a lot of freedom to emphasize certain things that are important to each staff member.
Because it’s important that you come to a mutual understanding, (and you already know what you think), ask your team member a few questions:
Repeat steps 1-4 which each person you meet with – all check-ins are a little bit unique.
Making one on ones mutually beneficial with my staff is the key to ensuring they won’t end up being a frustrating, meaningless “time sucks”. They’ve been a game-changer for me, and I hope these principles will help you get started, too!
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