The purpose of a 1-on-1 is in uncovering the goals, motivations, and job concerns of each team member. It is a time where team members can approach their leaders with questions, concerns, and goals that they might not have brought up otherwise. The value is incomprehensible! That is why leaders should never cancel a 1-on-1.
A cancelled 1-on-1 signals to your team they’re not important. When you cancel a 1-on-1, your team member might think that their goals and concerns take second priority to other things. If 1-on-1's are meant to build morale and engagement, a cancelled 1-on-1 kills morale, engagement, and team trust.
If a Q1 task appears, then communicate with your team member about rescheduling to another day later that week or to another time that day. That way you can put out the fire that appeared and while still making your team member a priority.
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.