Hold Regular 1-on-1s

 

What’s preventing you from holding 1-on-1s with each of your team members?
 
Nothing is more important than the people you lead. What they need from you is time. They need 1-on-1s so they can bring up issues hindering their progress, get feedback and coaching, create a development plan, and problem-solve with you. 1-on-1 meetings are one of your most important tools for increasing your team’s engagement. 
 
Be realistic about how often you can hold regular 1-on-1s. Don’t announce you’ll hold weekly 1-on-1s and then cancel them. This is an issue of quality over quantity, especially when the firehouse siren goes off. Start slow by gathering your team together and declaring your intent. You might say something such as:
 
“I’d like to start holding regular 1-on-1s, starting with once a month so that you can get coaching, share successes, and bring up issues that affect your engagement. I may occasionally have to cancel because something requires my immediate attention. Please pre-forgive me if this happens, and release yourself from the belief that you aren’t a priority. I’ll do my best to honor the commitment and make this time valuable for both of us; please do your best to be prepared and flexible.”
 
Remember it’s your associate's meeting, not yours. You should do 30 percent of the talking compared to their 70 percent. Don’t confuse this with your regularly scheduled team or staff meeting where the agenda can typically be all yours.
 

FROM MESS TO SUCCESS: HOLD REGULAR 1-ON-1s

  • If you struggle with holding 1-on-1s, commit to starting slow. Recognize that, for most leaders, once a month is only suggested because it’s better than not holding 1-on-1s at all. A weekly cadence is more ideal. There are many variables that will impact your frequency. Acknowledging them up front is crucial to your credibility and managing expectations.
  • Declare your intent with your team.
  • Before the 1-on-1, keep in mind that your team member will “own” the agenda.
  • During the 1-on-1:
    • Commit to do no more than 30 percent of the talking. Find out what you can do to support your team member. Remember, coach, don’t tell.
    • Seek and give feedback as appropriate.
    • A minimum of thirty minutes is recommended to realistically accommodate key status updates and “clear the path” items.
    • Devote time to development planning and career-path discussions.

For more on holding regular 1-on-1's, watch this short clip from Scott Miller, author of the book Management Mess to Leadership Success.


Don't let 1-on-1s slip into the ineffective and monotonous territory of simple status reports and progress checks. Get 100+ questions to improve your 1-on-1s and use them to engage your people, uncover issues, and unleash potential. 

 

Previous Article
Allow Others to be Smart
Allow Others to be Smart

Do you need to be the smartest person in the room?

Next Article
Protect Your Team Against Urgencies
Protect Your Team Against Urgencies

How will you find the courage to keep your team focused on what is most important, including saying no to s...